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The Boston Globe


Lasting lessons in an 1862 Boston Thanksgiving

An abolitionist and a Mass. governor’s Thanksgiving dinner led to the creation of a storied black Civil War regiment

On Thursday, when you sit down for your meal and give thanks, take a few minutes to share with the table the story about one of the most important Thanksgiving dinners in history. It took place 150 years ago in Boston on Nov. 27, 1862.

On that day, Governor John Albion Andrew of Massachusetts joined Lewis Hayden for dinner at Hayden’s Beacon Hill home on what was then Southac Street (today it’s Phillips Street). Hayden was a self-emancipated black man who had escaped from a life of slavery in Kentucky, settled in Boston where he ran a used clothing store, and became an abolitionist leader. His Beacon Hill residence was also used as a safe house on the Underground Railroad.

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