Thursday, 4:30 PM
Patrick hangs portrait of Civil War-era governor in office
(Jonathan Wiggs/ Globe Staff)
Governor Deval Patrick today in his office today pointed to the recently hung portrait of Governor John Albion Andrew, a abolitionist who helped activate the U.S. Army's first all-black regiments during the Civil War.
By Lisa Wangsness, Globe Staff
Governor Deval Patrick seized another opportunity to educate the public about the state's African-American history today when he unveiled the portrait of one of his predecessors he chose to hang above the fire place in his State House office.
Governor John Albion Andrew led Massachusetts during the Civil War. Showing off his painting to reporters in his office high over Beacon Street today, Patrick said that Andrew shocked Boston's elite by accepting the invitation to have Thanksgiving dinner at the Beacon Hill home of Lewis Hayden, a free black man who escaped from slavery and became an abolitionist. At the dinner, Patrick said, Hayden persuaded Andrew that black men should be allowed to fight in the Union Army, and he urged Andrew to take the idea to President Lincoln.
Andrew agreed and played a critical role in the activation of the 54th and 55th Regiments, the Army's first all-black regiments, Patrick said.
"It seemed Governor Andrew would be a fitting partner to keep me company here in the governor's office," Patrick said.
Patrick, the state's first African-American governor, took his oath of office on the Mendi Bible, which was given to John Quincy Adams by a group of African captives who staged a mutiny on the slave ship Amistad. Adams, a lawyer, persuaded the US Supreme Court to free the men.
Patrick learned about both Governor Andrew and the Mendi Bible from Beverly A. Morgan-Welch, executive director of the Museum of African American History on Beacon Hill and a co-chair of Patrick's inaugural committee.
Tradition has each Massachusetts governor select a portrait of a former governor whom he admires to adorn his office walls.