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 29, 2016

Commemorating the Fifth of March, 5 Mar.

This is the time of year I start posting so much about a Massacre that it’s a wonder the F.B.I. isn’t trying to decode my iPhone. But that’s because the anniversary of the Boston Massacre is coming up on the 5th of March.

This year that date falls on a Saturday, so the annual reenactment hosted by the Bostonian Society outside the Old State House Museum will take place on the exact anniversary. There’s a whole passel of activities planned for the day.

11:00 A.M. and 2:00 P.M.
Little Redcoats and Little Bostonians, interactive program for children
Learn what life was like for Bostonians and British soldiers in Boston in the months leading up to the violence on King Street. Free; at massacre marker in front the Old State House.

11:30 A.M. and 2:30 P.M.
Trial of the Century, interactive program for all ages
Watch lawyers John Adams and Josiah Quincy defend the British soldiers accused of murdering Bostonians. Audience members take on the roles of witnesses and jurors in this celebrated court case. Free with museum admission; in Representative Hall, Old State House. (Space is limited; tickets available with museum admission starting at 9:00 A.M.)

7:00 P.M.
Boston Massacre Reenactment
Witness the shootings reenacted in front of the Old State House by some of the country’s most dedicated Revolutionary-era reenactors in the very place where the event took place in 1770. Before the action unfolds, hear from radicals, friends of government, and moderates who will talk about the events and attitudes that led to that fateful night. (You can also hear me narrating the action.) Free; in front of the Old State House.

In addition, there are a couple more Massacre-related events in the days that follow.

Sunday, 6 March, 1:00 to 2:30 P.M.
Reading of Blood on the Snow
Join the Bostonian Society for a behind-the-scenes preview of the new play Blood on the Snow on the 246th anniversary of the day that political drama takes place, as acting governor Thomas Hutchinson, his Council, Lt. Col. William Dalrymple, Samuel Adams, and others debated about how the government should respond to the violence. This free reading is open to the public. With limited seating available, please sign up for tickets here. (This play will be fully staged at the Old State House in May.)

Wednesday, 9 March, 6:00 P.M.
At Old South Meeting House
Boston Massacre Orations
Each year from 1771 to 1783, Bostonians gathered by the thousands at Old South to hear commemorative speeches from such politicians as John Hancock and Dr. Joseph Warren. Come hear selected excerpts of those orations performed in the same space by an inter-generational group. This program is co-sponsored by Old South, the Bostonian Society, and the History Departments at Suffolk University and Northeastern University. It is made possible by funding from the Lowell Institute. Free and open to the public, but please register for a seat.

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