Boston at the center of America’s Revolution and Freedom Roads

Me standing in front of the 18th century restored Hartwell Tavern, located in the Minute Man National Historical Park in Concord, Mass., which sits along the actual "Battle Road." Aug. 19, 2017

Saturday, while some 40,000 men, women and children from diverse backgrounds marched peacefully to Boston Common in a counter demonstration to oppose bigotry and racism, I was deep into this country’s revolutionary history. On a day tour and again with a friend, I ventured through the Lexington and Concord, Mass., sites that led to the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War. The date was April 19, 1775. Local townsmen, under the leadership of Captain John Parker faced the British Regulars, when the first shot fired took place on the historic Battle Green in Lexington.

This country is built on the backs of people who wanted better for themselves and their families and in some cases were willing, and continue to be willing to put their lives on the line.

In Concord, I also had the opportunity to see the homes and resting places of authors Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorn.

This is just a small sampling of the Revolutionary Road to Freedom.

The Munroe Tavern, in Lexington, Mass., served as the headquarters for Brigadier General Earl Percy on April 19, 1997. Aug. 19, 2017
The Lexington Minute Man in Lexington, Mass., is a life-size bronze figure of a colonial farmer with musket by Boston sculptor Henry H. Kitson. It stands at the southeast corner of the Lexington Battle Green, facing the route of the British advance. Although called the “Minuteman,” it is meant to represent a member of the Lexington militia, local colonists who volunteered to be first responders to military and other threats. The actual Minute Men were an elite subset of this group, young and fit and able to respond quickly. Aug. 19, 2017
Buckman Tavern (c. 1709), the gathering place where the Lexington Militia gathered the night before the Battle in Lexington, Mass. A bullet from the first shots fired on the Green lodged in the main front door. In the early morning of April 19, 1775 Captain John Parker ordered his militia to move onto the Green from Buckman Tavern. The “training band” of 77 men was greatly outnumbered by 700 British forces. Ordered to lay down their arms and disperse, Captain Parker ordered the militia to “Stand your ground. “Don’t fire unless fired upon…” Finally Captain Parker ordered the men to fall back. Then, a shot rang out. It ignited the beginning of the American Revolution. Eight militia were dead and nine were wounded. Only one British regular was wounded. The British were not deterred. They continued their march toward Concord and North Bridge. Aug. 19, 2017
This plaque honoring Prince Estabrook, a slave who was one of the Lexington Minute Men, can be seen in front of the Buckman Tavern in Lexington, Mass. Aug. 19, 2017
This memorial marks where Paul Revere was said to have been captured by the British on the night of April 18th, just down the road from the Hartwell Tavern in Concord, Mass. Along with Revere, William Dawes Dr. Samuel Prescott were the other two riders. Dawes was thrown off his house, but Prescott made it the Tavern and awakened Ephraim who sent his slave, Violet, down the road to awaken Samuel Hartwell next door. Mary Hartwell then took over and relayed the message to Captain William Smith, commanding officer of the Lincoln Minute Men. Thus the Lincoln Minute Men were warned in time, and arrived at the North Bridge before the British soldiers got there. Aug. 19, 2017
Lexington Battle Green, in Lexington, Mass., site where the Lexington militia confronted 800 British Regulars as the sun rose on April 19, 1775. It’s where “the first blood was split in the dispute with Great Britain” as George Washington wrote in his diary. Aug. 19, 2017
The Ye Olde Burying Ground, established in 1804, is where revolutionary families are buried as well as the British soldier wounded on the retreat from Concord, Mass. Aug. 19, 2017
The Hancock-Clarke House where Paul Revere stopped to warn the townspeople that the Regulars (the British) were coming. John Hancock and Samuel Adams, prominent leaders in the colonial cause, were guests of the Reverend Jones Clarke. Paul Revere and William Dawes’ destination on the night of April 18, 1775 was to warn Adams and Hancock of the coming of the British troops. Aug. 19, 2017
The 18th century restored Hartwell Tavern, located in the Minute Man National Historical Park in Concord, Mass., sits along the actual “Battle Road.” Three of Ephraim and Elizabeth Hartwell’s sons were in the Lincoln Minute Man Company (Capt. William Smith’s Co.) that fought at the North Bridge and on the battleroad on April 19: Samuel and John were both sergeants, and Isaac was a private. All three went on to later military service in the Revolutionary War. Aug. 19, 2017
Historical re-enactors of colonial life at the Hartwell Tavern in the Minute Man National Historical Park in Lincoln, Mass. Aug. 19, 2017
“The thunderbolt falls an inch of ground; but the light of it fills the horizon,” by Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1875 Centennial of April 19, 1775 Battle. Aug. 19, 2017
The Minute Man Statue, grave of British Soldiers, the North Bridge and obelisk monument showing where “the shot herd round the world,” occurred in Concord, Mass. The engraving on the pillared statue reads: “Here on the 19 of April 1775 was made the first forcible resistance to British aggression. On the opposite bank stood the American Militia. Here stood the invading Army and on this spot the first of the enemy fell in the war of the Revolution which gave Independence to these United States.” Aug. 19, 2017
A British re-enactor standing by the grave of British solders by the North Bridge in Cord, Mass. The engraving says: “They came three thousand miles and died to keep the past upon its throne. Unheard beyond the ocean tide. Their English Mother made her moan.” Aug. 19, 2017
A view of the North Bridge in Concord, Mass., where the “shot herd round the world” was fired and consider what liberty means to you. Aug. 19, 2017
The Minute Man statue by Daniel Chester French has been watching over North Bridge in Concord, Mass., since 1875. The Minute Man statue with plow and musket in hand, this iconic colonial silently honors the minute men where they took their stand. Aug. 19, 2017
Minute Man National Park in Concord, Mass. Aug. 19, 2017
The Robbins House, a 544 sq. Ft. Historic early 19th century house, stands across from the Old North Bridge in the Concord section of the Minute Man National Historical Park. It is one of the only known historical sites commemorating the legacy of a previously enslaved Revolutionary War veteran, Caesar Robbins, and by fugitive slave, Jack Garrison. Aug. 19, 2017
Orchard House, the home of author Louisa May Alcot and her family, is also the setting for her beloved book “Little Women.” The Alcots were dedicated antislavery activists. It’s possible that they hid fugitive slaves at the Orchard house, where they lived from 1858-77. They held antislavery meetings here, hosted a large reception for John Brown and the ‘regular antislavery set,” and gave two of John Brown’s daughters a home after he was hanged for his raid on Harper;s Ferry. Anna and Louisa Alcott (1832-1888) staged plays to raise money for the Concord Antislavery Society. Aug. 19, 2017
The hillside chapel and gardens at the Orchard House, home of author Louisa May Alcot and her family, is also the setting for her beloved book “Little Women.” Aug. 19, 2017
The Alcott family headstones, including Amos Bronson Alcott, transcendentalist, philosopher and educator; his wife, Abby May and their daughter, Louisa May Alcott, the author of “Little Women,” at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Mass. Aug. 19, 2017
Where Ralph Waldo Emerson, foremost 19th century literary figure lived and wrote from 1835 until his death in 1882. Ralph Waldo Emerson was persuaded to speak out against slavery publicly by his wife Lydian, his Aunt Mary and his friend Mary Brooks. He supported the controversial abolitionist John Brown. Aug. 19, 2017
The headstone of Ralph Waldo Emerson in the center, with his wife Lidian to the left and his and daughter Ellen to the right at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Mass. Aug. 19, 2017
Having a late Cajun/Mexican blend cuisine lunch with family friend and Boston resident, Phineas at the Border Cafe in the Harvard Square in Cambridge, Mass. Aug. 19, 2017
The campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Aug. 19, 2017
The campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Aug. 19, 2017
The busy Harvard Square with its shops and restaurants in Cambridge, Mass. Aug. 19, 2017
The busy Harvard Square with its shops and restaurants in Cambridge, Mass. Aug. 19, 2017
The busy Harvard Square with its shops and restaurants in Cambridge, Mass. Aug. 19, 2017
A mural by New England artist Jill Hoy at a shop by the name of Oona’s at the busy Harvard Square in Cambridge, Mass. Aug. 19, 2017
A sign at a restaurant at Harvard Square in Cambridge, Mass., letting any Nazi practitioner know, they are not welcomed. This sign pretty much sums up both the present (a day of protesting bigotry and racism at Boston Commons) and the past of battling racism and war on both domestic and foreign soils. Aug. 19, 2017