Platform for Diverse Voices

"Happy is the age in which one can think what he pleases and say what he thinks." -- Arthur A. Schlesinger

Ford Hall Youth Forum program advertising "Syphilis: Our Oldest Public Enemy," undated

Before the Second World War, the Ford Hall Forum played an important role in introducing diverse voices to the American public.  They were one of the few organizations willing to host figures like Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Margaret Sanger, W. E. B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, and Thurgood Marshall. The Forum’s commitment to inclusion eventually led to its separation from the Baptist Social Union and a blacklisting by the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Famously, birth control activist and sex-educator Margaret Sanger appeared at the Ford Hall Forum even though it was illegal to speak about birth control in Boston.  Her speech was delivered by Arthur M. Schlesinger as she stood on stage with a gag over her mouth.