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An Appeal by Rev. Samuel Harrison (1877)

This appeal is addressed to my fellow-citizens of the United States because the subject matter of the appeal concerns them; for nowhere else in the world is such an appeal necessary.  The conventional rules of society are nowhere else so rigid as in the Unites States of America.  Hence we appeal to those who can correct, or at least help to correct, the matter of which we complain, and thus bring about results which will be advantageous to those to whom I address myself, as well as for those for whom this appeal is made.  It is a fact that cannot be ignored, however much men may be disposed to, that the colored man labors under difficulties and burdens which no other people do.

The silence may be interpreted to mean this: That it is no crime, or it is not one of sufficient magnitude to demand protest.  But were the victims of a fairer hue, and those who are guilty of these outrages colored men, there would come a united protestation from [everywhere], and the arm of the general government would at once be employed to visit [justifiable] punishment upon the party guilty of such crimes.
We are misjudged by very many of our white fellow citizens, or they occupy a wrong standpoint from which they judge us.  For the misdemeanor of a few, they judge the many, and condemn the many for the misdeeds of the few.

We have always as a class been law-abiding, and no question can be asked to our patriotism, as any student of our nation’s history well knows.  The colored man has always been willing to bide his time.  He believed it was coming, and even now we have entered upon it.  That as old lines are being obliterated or being so, we ask that no man be known by race, or color, or nationality.  This is our status according to the letter and spirit of the American Constitution.

The interest of the one race, if I may speak, is the interest of the other.  We are of one language, and the same system of laws are essential to govern both.  When justice is practiced toward us, there is no need of special legislation for our race.  We are no different from other men and women; we have hopes and aspirations and inclinations the same as others.  This being so, all we ask is to be treated as other men and women are.  We claim no more for a colored man by intuition than can be claimed for others.

It may be asked upon what ground do I base my appeal in behalf of my people?  I answer, in the first place, the love of country.

Mission Statement

It is the mission of the Samuel Harrison Society to restore and preserve Reverend Harrison's homestead; use it as a place to teach the values embodied in his noble life, his enduring beliefs, his extraordinary writings; and to define a chapter in the story of us as a people by providing greater insight into African-American history.

Samuel Harrison House is now open to the public

Hours of operation (2020)

By appointment only. Call 413-445-5414 and please leave a message.

Planned Activities


For upcoming events, please view our Events Page. Our Events Page can be also viewed for details on upcoming and other past events.

The Samuel Harrison House is open!
The Samuel Harrison Society held its Grand Opening for the Samuel Harrison House on Satuday, June 19th, 2015. The Grand Opening was attended by honored guests Pittsfield Mayor, Dan Bianchi, former Mayor of Pittsfield, James Ruberto, and former Samuel Harrison Society President, Linda Tyer.

A short program was held for the grand opening and was followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony. The ribbon was cut by Rev. Samuel Harrison's great-granddaughter, Ruth Edmonds Hill. Honored guests and all attendees were given a tour of the house upon it's official opening.

After the grand opening, the first official visitors were welcomed inside the Samuel Harrison House. They can be seen reading panels on the walls inside the Greylock Federal Credit Union room.

Emancipation Days 2013 Peterboro, NY
Samuel Harrison Society members Jeannie Williams, Ruth Edmonds Hill, and Blayne Whitfield traveled to Peterboro, NY (Hamlet of the town of Smithfield, NY) to participate in the 4th annual Emancipation Days. The Smithfield Community Association celebrated the Emancipation Proclamation in a two-day program event. On the first day, African American veterans of the Civil War and abolitionist and philanthropist Gerrit Smith were honored at the Peterboro cemetery. On the second day, the Samuel Harrison Society presented the Harrison documentary, "A Trumpet at the Walls of Jericho". Blayne Whitfield and Ruth Edmonds Hill spoke after the showing of the documentary.

Samuel Harrison Brick
The Samuel Harrison Society purchased an inscribed brick to be part of the exterior wall of the new building for St. John's Congregational Church in Springfield, MA. The brick was unveiled as one of over 200 bricks during the Cornerstone Laying and Unveiling of the Inscribed Bricks Ceremony on June 27th, 2013. Samuel Harrison served as Pastor of the church from 1866 to 1870.

Greylock Federal Credit Union donates $50K!
The Greylock Federal Credit Union announced on Friday, July 1st, 2011, that they are donating $50,000 over the next three years to support the restoration of the Samuel Harrison House and the opening of the museum.


Groundbreaking Ceremony
The Samuel Harrison Society (SHS) celebrated the beginning of the restoration and preservation of the Samuel Harrison House by holding a Groundbreaking ceremony.  On Friday, August 22nd, 2008, the ceremony was attended by Senators, Representatives, Friends, Neighbors, and descendants of Samuel Harrison.

National Register of Historic Places
The Samuel Harrison Society is pleased to announce that the home of Samuel Harrison, located at 82 Third Street in Pittsfield, was accepted for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places on March 22, 2006.  His home is a landmark representing his place in history and physically represents his lifestyle and position in his community.

Creating a New Museum
The Samuel Harrison Society with the help of public and private funds plans to restore and preserve the homestead of Samuel Harrison with the goal of creating a new museum. Through exhibts, displays, recordings of (Samuel Harrison's) writings and personal memorabillia, the museum will track the Reverend's struggles and triumphs and describe the profound effect he had on 19th century American history.

Pittsfield moves to save home of Rev. Harrison
City officials are predicting the Harrison house on Third Street can become a museum honoring a locally famous African-American leader, after successful overtures have been made to place it on the National Register of Historic Places and transfer its ownership. The house of Rev. Samuel Harrison, abandoned and falling into decay, was placed on a list of structures slated for destruction two years ago by a city committed to neighborhood revitalization. As a matter of routine, the city submitted the list to the Massachusetts Historical Commission for its review. The commission wrote back on Oct 21, 2002, stating that the house at 82 Third St. was a “historic and archaeological asset of the Commonwealth” and that it was eligible for the National Register of Historic Places under three separate categories of historic significance.

Quote - April 16, 2006

Article ID: 3716480 Publication: Berkshire Eagle, The (Pittsfield, MA) "I think the Reverend Harrison would be astounded to know that his house is now one of Pittsfield's historic landmarks." — Linda Tyer, first president of the Samuel Harrison Society

Samuel Harrison House Location in Pittsfield, MA

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If you're interested in restoring, preserving, and supporting one of America's Treasures you can give to the Samuel Harrison Society by clicking donate. The Samuel Harrison Society thanks you for your support!

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82 Third St, Pittsfield, MA 01201