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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Friday, February 26, 2010

Three Lectures on Slavery in Newton in March

I grew up in Newton, where, as a schoolmate once observed, you can go on so many field trips to the Jackson Homestead (shown here in a photo by Michael Femia, via Flickr) that you end up thinking that it rivals Independence Hall and the White House as the most historically significant building in the U.S. of A.

Historic Newton is headquartered at that colonial home on Washington Street, which is a documented spot on the Underground Railroad. We grew up hearing about the site’s history of anti-slavery activism, but the history of slavery in Newton and elsewhere in Massachusetts got less discussion. Not no discussion, but there weren’t so many stories to latch onto. Historic Newton is co-sponsoring a series of lectures about slavery in other local buildings in March. Its announcement says, “This lecture series will consider slavery as a societal force that has echoed throughout every century of American history.”

Monday, 1 March, 7:00 P.M.
C. S. Manegold, the author of Ten Hills Farm: The Forgotten History of Slavery in the North, will speak about the five generations of colonial New England slaveholders who owned Ten Hills Farm (the Winthrops, Ushers, and Royalls). At Myrtle Baptist Church, 21 Curve Street, West Newton.

Thursday, 11 March, 7:00 P.M.
Screening of documentary film Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North, in which producer Katrina Browne confronts her family legacy of slave-trading. After the screening James DeWolf Perry, a member of the family and Newton resident, will lead a discussion of the history it discusses. At Boston College Law School, Stuart House, Room 315, Center Street.

Monday, 22 March, 7:00 P.M.
“...some cotton, and tobacco, and negros...Pray have you heard nothing of my black guard Peter...” State Representative and historian Byron Rushing will reflect on the first two centuries of Africans in New England by comparing the origin story of Africans in the Massachusetts Bay colony recorded in Winthrop’s journal with the visit of South Carolinian John Rutledge’s enslaved servant to Boston in 1803. Held at Myrtle Baptist Church, 21 Curve Street, West Newton.

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