1845 Petitions for and against Integrating Nantucket Schools

Petition drives were widely used to promote reform movements in the nineteenth century.

Early in 1845, six petitions were submitted to Boston. Four advocated school integration and the passage of a law guaranteeing equal access to education. Two defended the school’s policy of segregation. The final petition was submitted by Eunice Ross, in which she told her own story.

The State legislature took the side of those who argued for equal rights and passed Chapter 214 of the Acts of 1845. This groundbreaking law prohibited discrimination in the public schools of Massachusetts and guaranteed equal education to all students.

The Nantucket Historical Association preserves and interprets the history of Nantucket through its programs, collections, and properties, in order to promote the island’s significance and foster an appreciation of it among all audiences.

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