J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Anniversary Events in Greater Boston This Week

At Longfellow House–Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site in Cambridge, the National Park Service is offering special out-of-season tours on Tuesday, 22 February—Gen. George Washington’s actual birthday. These tours focus on Washington’s months in the house during the siege of Boston, and how the family of poet Henry W. Longfellow later celebrated that history. Tours are scheduled to start every half-hour, and are free.

(To be completely accurate, the calendar read 11 Feb 1731 when Washington was born. But by the end of his lifetime he was acknowledging 22 Feb 1732 as his birth date. More on that change tomorrow.)

On Wednesday, 23 February, at 6:30 P.M., the Bostonian Society’s Old State House hosts a program called “‘A Man’s House Is His Castle’: The Legacy of James Otis.” This event commemorates the 150th anniversary of James Otis, Jr.’s legal argument against writs of assistance in that building, which in 1761 served as a courthouse. The Fourth Amendment is one eventual result of that argument, as are today’s debates about search warrants and pat-downs of travelers.

The panelists are:

  • Robert Allison, Professor of History, Suffolk University
  • Christopher Pyle, Professor of Politics, Mount Holyoke College
  • Dennis Treece, Colonel U.S. Army (Ret.); Director of Security, Massport
  • moderator Meghna Chakrabarti, Host, Radio Boston, WBUR
The discussion is presented by the Bostonian Society and the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts. It is free and open to the public.

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