Tag Archives: Freedom Trail

Having the Courage to See What is Right

Seeing history’s examples of those who stand up and speak out for freedom.

Park Street Church
“In most troublesome situations, people do know, in the back of their minds, that acknowledging reality means they’ll have to change something that many of us fear, and even resist.” – Roger Connors, Tom Smith, and Craig Hickman[1]

One of the first landmarks my wife and I visited upon arriving to Boston was the Park Street Church, which stands on Boston’s historic Freedom Trail (see ‘A Historic Start’ and ‘History’s Innovation from Creative Minds’). Park Street Church is recognized for the various roles the site played in supporting the anti-slavery movement including William Lloyd Garrison’s first anti-slavery speech given on July 4, 1829. [2] This early commitment to addressing the scourge of slavery in the United States of America reminds me of the importance of having the courage to see what is going on in the world around us and standing up for what is right.

Jason Freeman is the founder of Work of Start.

1. Connors, Roger, Tom Smith, and Craig R. Hickman. The Oz Principle: Getting Results Through Individual and Organizational Accountability. Rev. ed. (New York: Portfolio, 2010), 72.
2. Acquired from City of Boston Website – CityofBoston.gov

History’s Innovation from Creative Minds

Exploring Boston’s Freedom Trail continues to provide context for today’s innovation through a study of Benjamin Franklin’s early life.Benjamin Franklin

For creativity is the great leveler…It does not recognize the social categories that we impose on ourselves. – Richard Florida [1]

As one of America’s most celebrated minds, Benjamin Franklin embodied a dedication to scientific discovery and the artistic creativity necessary to produce dramatic innovation. Standing as a tribute to a lifetime dedicated to learning, a Ben Franklin statue was erected at the original spot of America’s oldest public school, the Boston Latin School, and sits as a landmark on Boston’s Freedom Trail (see ‘A Historic Start’). Ben Franklin never completed his studies at the Boston Latin School and at a young age moved from Boston, his home town, to Philadelphia for greater professional opportunity and personal independence. [2] Ben Franklin is an example of how social standing is a poor predictor of a person’s potential, but a young Franklin’s move from Boston also demonstrates how mobile these innovative minds can be.

Jason Freeman is the founder of Work of Start.

1. Richard Florida. Flight of the Creative Class: The New Global Competition for Talent (New York: HarperBusiness, 2005), 35.
2. Acquired from The Independence Hall Association (IHA) – USHistory.org

A Historic Start

Walking Boston’s Freedom Trail and seeing the Old State House, site of the Boston Massacre, provides some historic context for today’s innovation.
Old State House

Exploring what is required to start something with sustained impact, I have found over several months of research various examples of organizations or programs that have continued to maintain a positive impact for at least seven years or more. [1] Once identified, I reached out to a founding member to learn more about these starts, all of which were originated in California and were focused on education or civic engagement. [2]

Having recently moved to the Boston, Massachusetts area, I hope to continue my exploration of starts, now in the New England region. My focus will be on relatively recent civic entrepreneurialism for the next few months, but I wanted to also begin to understand the historical context of a place with a long history of innovation.

My study of the historic importance of the New England region includes the spark that began a revolution—a revolution which established the United States of America’s independence. The location of that spark is part of American folklore and can be found where the Boston Massacre took place, marked by a circle of cobblestones on Boston’s Freedom Trail, in front of the Old State House. The Old State House is Boston’s oldest remaining public building [3] and the view seen in the above illustration comes from my standing on the marker for the Boston Massacre, which is placed in a pedestrian island (currently closed off due to construction) between the busy, three-way intersection of Devonshire, State, and Congress Streets.

Standing on the stone marker, having cars and people rush quickly past, I can imagine the chaos and disorientation of those gathered in this very spot on March 5, 1770, when British soldiers fired into the rowdily protesting crowd. This tragic occurrence took the lives of five Americans, the stories of which hardened a resolve to gain independence from British rule. [4] My mind also goes to the Deborah Nankivell’s comment (see ‘Start Thinking with the Whole Mind’) regarding historic transformations being initiated by dire circumstances, stating these changes are often “born of desperation.”

Looking up at the balcony of the Old State House under which the pages of American history have been written, my resolve to find the people developing something with impact is both renewed and amplified. I hope you will continue to join me on this journey of discovery.

Jason Freeman is the founder of Work of Start.

1. Average time in operation is approximately 15 years.
2. Five posts were focused on educational starts and one on civic entrepreneurialism.
3. Acquired from The Bostonian Society – BostonHistory.org
4. Acquired from The Bostonian Society – BostonHistory.org