On Sunday June 19, Juneteenth, at 10am, something historic will happen at Old South Church in Boston. For the first time in 353 years, we will dedicate a permanent space to honor the legacy of a person of color.
This Sunday we will rededicate what was formerly known as the Samuel Johnson Room as the Phillis Wheatley Room.
Located on the Fourth Floor, this room houses our collection of Senior Minister portraits and is a place of study, prayer, and meeting for all ages. We will retain the tradition of displaying a lay leader's portrait, now Phillis, above the fireplace. Historic items and books about Phillis will be on display in a glass viewing case. The walls have been painted. New signs have been posted. All that is left to do is give God our praise and thanks. That is our charge this Sunday.
Phillis Wheatley-Peters will be the first portrait of a person of color, and second female (after Nancy Taylor) displayed in the public spaces of Old South Church.
Don't worry. We still have an important job for our beloved Sam Johnson. Having kept watch over the portraits of our previous Senior Ministers for many decades, he now hangs in the Senior Minister's study. Now, nothing can get past Sam.