Sarah's Long Walk
The Free Blacks of Boston and How Their Struggle for Equality Changed America
Publication Date: February 2006
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In 1847, a five-year-old African American girl named Sarah Roberts was forced to walk past five white schools to attend the poor and densely crowded all-black Abiel Smith School on Boston's Beacon Hill. Incensed that his daughter had been turned away at each white school, her father, Benjamin, sued the city of Boston on her behalf. The historic case that followed set the stage for over a century of struggle, culminating in 1954 with the unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education.