J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

“Abolitionism in Black and White” Symposium, 24 Oct

I’m leaving the Revolutionary era to talk about a historical event I’m helping to organize called “Abolitionism in Black and White: The Anti-Slavery Community of Boston and Cambridge.” This symposium of scholars will take place on Saturday, 24 Oct 2009, at the C. Walsh Theatre of Suffolk University in Boston.

Historians James Oliver Horton (George Washington University) and Lois E. Horton (George Mason University) will open the symposium with an overview of the ante-bellum abolitionist movement in greater Boston. David Blight (Yale University) will be the closing speaker. Sessions will cover:

  • Sen. Charles Sumner (shown here, courtesy of the U.S. Congress) and the Black and White Abolitionist Community.
  • Anti-Slavery Music.
  • Abolitionism in Popular Culture.
  • Women in the Anti-Slavery Movement.
  • the contemporary relevance of this historical movement.
This symposium has been organized for public historians, teachers, students, and the general public. Pre-registration is required; the registration fee (which includes a boxed lunch) is $25 per person. Click here for more information and a link to the registration site.

I won’t be speaking at this symposium, unless I have the misfortune to have to ask the audience for patience as we load someone’s audiovisuals. I’ll be taking in the remarks of the speakers, who include some of the country’s top scholars on race relations in the mid-1800s.

Also, in connection to this symposium, on Friday evening, 23 October, the Underground Railway Theater will present a staged reading of a portion of Lydia Diamond’s new play Harriet Jacobs, about the fugitive slave and abolitionist author, followed by a discussion of the history behind the play. That event is free.

Other historical organizations in greater Boston have scheduled concurrent events related to the region’s history of slavery, abolition, and civil rights.

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