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, January 25, 2010

An African-American Neighborhood in Boston’s North End?

Boston historian Alex Goldfeld has a new book called The North End: A Brief History of Boston’s Oldest Neighborhood, and will be speaking about his findings at a couple of venues in the next two weeks.

On Wednesday, 27 January, at 6:00 p.m., Goldfeld will present an illustrated lecture called “Investigating ‘New Guinea’: Evidence for a Black Community in Boston’s North End in the 1600s” at Historic New England’s Otis House Museum, 141 Cambridge Street, in Boston. Many sources have asserted that a community of free and enslaved African-Americans lived on Copp’s Hill in colonial times, but this wasn’t definitively proven. Goldfeld has unearthed several historical facts that, when taken together, he believes confirm Boston’s colonial New Guinea.

This event is presented by Boston African American National Historic Site and Historic New England, and is free of charge. Seating is on a first-come basis. For more information, call 617-742-5415 or visit the Boston African American National Historic Site website.

On Wednesday, 10 February, at 6:30 p.m., Goldfeld will speak on “In Slavery and Freedom: Boston’s Black Community since 1638“ in the Orientation Room of the Boston Public Library (First Floor, McKim Building). This event, also free, is part of the Boston Public Library Local and Family History Lecture Series.

Goldfeld’s illustrated presentation will start with the African-American community in the North End and then follow those Bostonians to the north slope of Beacon Hill, where African-Americans established a new base to fight for equality. New facts coming to light during this overview include a black church established over 110 years before Boston’s nineteenth-century African Meeting House.

At both events Goldfeld will sign copies of The North End: A Brief History of Boston’s Oldest Neighborhood.

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