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The UU Urban Ministry, working in partnership with the Roxbury Historical Society, has convened a History Committee to continue this interrogation into the history of First Church. Led by historian Byron Rushing, and joined by community leaders such as the Honorable Leslie Harris and historian 

and UUUM board member Thomas Plant, the committee is charting our course forward.

The work of this committee is building upon, "Race & Slavery at the First Church in Roxbury (The Colonial Period 1631-1775)", the report written by Aabid Allibhai (that can be found on the History of First Church in Roxbury page). A priority is doing genealogical research into the descendants of enslaved people named in the report, and finding ways to honor those who were enslaved.

The continuation of this honest historical examination is a commitment of the UU Urban Ministry.


“I for one believe that if you give people a thorough understanding of what confronts them and the basic causes that produce it, they’ll create their own program, and when the people create a program, you get action.” 

                                                      — Malcolm X

“You have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall see how a slave was made a man.”

                                                                                                              - Frederick Douglas


We are grateful to the following people who have offered their time, wisdom, and skills to serving on our History Committee.  This committee is charged with determining the next steps of examining our past.

  • Suzy Buchanan, Executive Director, Shirley-Eustis House

  • Marcia Butman, Executive Director, Discover Roxbury and UUUM board member

  • Rev. Mary Margaret Earl, Executive Director and Senior Minister, UU Urban Ministry

  • Jon Ellertson, Small business owner and Roxbury community activist

  • Hon. Leslie Harris, Judge at Massachusetts Trial Courts (Ret.)

  • Hon. Geraldine Hines, Former Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

  • Sumaya Mohamed Ibrahim, Director of The Opus Experiment, Boston Women's Fund

  • Collin Knight, CEO at Live Like A Local Tours Boston

  • Marisa Luse, United Way of Rhode Island and UUUM board member

  • Sen. Liz Miranda, Massachusetts State Senator, Second Suffolk

  • Thomas Plant, Historian and UUUM board member

  • Christle Rawlins-Jackson, Visual artist and a communications expert

  • Byron Rushing, Historian, former member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, former president of the Museum of African-American History in Boston

  • Joyce Stanley, Founder, Dudley Square Main Streets (Now Roxbury Main Streets)

  • Reggie Walker, UUUM Manager of Community Engagement and Tours Program

                     “Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves”                                                                                          - Abraham Lincoln


We invite all members of the community to join us in the work of examining our history.  Additionally, we will continue to publish the findings of this work so that it is available to all.

For more information about the work of our History Committee, or to discuss involvement opportunities, email: Vinnie Myles, Director of Development and Communications at

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