What matters to you.
Play Live Radio
Support for GBH is provided by:

Forum Network

Free online lectures: Explore a world of ideas

Funding provided by:

A Potent Force The Liberty Tree Flag & The Spirit of American Protest

In partnership with:
With support from: Lowell Institute
Date and time
Tuesday, March 14, 2023
Add to Calendar

Join Revolutionary Spaces, Ford Hall Forum, and GBH Forum Network on March 14 as we unearth a treasure from our expansive collection, the iconic Liberty Tree Flag, and explore the great American tradition of protest. Commemorating the 250th Anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, which ignited from the Meeting of the Body of the People at Old South Meeting House, we will examine how this artifact relates to protest and the fight for freedom in its time, connecting it to our broader understanding of American history. Revolutionary Spaces’ Collections Manager Lori Erickson will showcase the Liberty Tree Flag and discuss the artifact, which was used to mark the Liberty Tree as a site of memory that symbolized the power of protest. Almost every subsequent protest in Revolutionary Boston genuflected in some way to the Liberty Tree. Later, the flag was brought out at anti-slavery meetings and feminist meetings as a reminder of the power of protest to make change. We’ll then be joined by esteemed professor and award-winning author Robert David “KC” Johnson to explore the history of American protest movements, from colonial to present day. The program will conclude with an audience Q&A. This essential virtual program will provide context for future programs at Revolutionary Spaces and other institutions throughout the anniversary year of the Boston Tea Party, as we grapple with the notion of protest in our midst. ### Resources Two-part blog post about the Liberty Tree Flag from the old Bostonian Society Website, written by intern Kathryn Griffith, who spent a full sunner conducting research on this object under Nat Scheidley’s direction [Part 1 ](https://bostonhistory.squarespace.com/kingstreet/2014/08/not-that-samuel-adams-chasing.html) [Part 2 ](https://bostonhistory.squarespace.com/kingstreet/2014/08/not-that-samuel-adams-chasing_20.html) [Background on the Liberty Tree itself, from the Smithsonian Magazine](https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/story-behind-forgotten-symbol-american-revolution-liberty-tree-180959162/) [The Freedoms We Lost by Barbara Clark Smith](https://thenewpress.com/books/freedoms-we-lost)

Robert David “KC” Johnson is an award-winning Professor of History at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York Graduate Center. In 2007-2008, he taught at Tel Aviv University as Fulbright Distinguished Chair in the Humanities. Professor Johnson received a Bachelor of Arts and Ph.D. from Harvard and a Master of Arts from the University of Chicago. His books include Congress and the Cold War, which was published by Cambridge University Press and won the D.B. Hardeman Prize. He has written widely on 20th and 21st century United States political, diplomatic, and legal affairs.
Lori Erickson is the associate director of collections at Revolutionary Spaces. Her pecialties are Collections management, curation, exhibit development, project management, registration, object handling, archaeology, U.S history, art, science, North American prehistory.
**Nat Sheidley **is the President and CEO of Revolutionary Spaces, an organization that stewards Boston’s Old State House and Old South Meeting House. He was formerly Executive Director of the Bostonian Society and Assistant Professor of American and Native American History at Wellesley College. He is a graduate of Stanford University and holds a Ph.D. in American History from Princeton University.

More Events