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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Sunday, March 14, 2010

This Week’s Revolutionary Lectures

Puzzles of Dorchester Heights: Washington Ends the Siege of Boston
6:30 P.M. on Wednesday, 17 March, at Longfellow National Historic Site in Cambridge
Robert Cameron Mitchell, Professor Emeritus, Clark University

Historians agree that placing artillery on the hills of the Dorchester peninsula was decisive in forcing the British military to evacuate Boston on March 17, 1776. But why had it taken so long for either army to seize that high ground? What was General George Washington’s role in setting strategy? And what other factors were important in the end of the siege? Free, but to reserve a seat, please call 617-876-4491.

Concord Goes to War: How a Conservative Colonial Town Became the Starting-Point of the Revolutionary War
8:00 P.M. on Wednesday, 17 March, at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Concord
Robert Gross, James L. & Shirley A. Draper Professor of Early American History, University of Connecticut

Gross specializes in the social and cultural history of the U.S., from the colonial era through the 19th century. His first book on the American Revolution, The Minutemen and Their World, a study of social and political life in Concord in the generation before 1775, won the Bancroft Prize in American History. Sponsored by the Friends of Minute Man National Park. Free, with parking available along Elm Street.

[ADDENDUM:
In Slavery and Freedom: Boston’s Black Community since 1638
6:30 P.M. on Thursday, 18 March, at the Boston Public Library, Copley Square (rescheduled from 10 February)
Alex Goldfeld, president and historian of the North End Historical Society

Goldfeld will give an illustrated presentation about Boston’s earliest African-American community, located in the North End prior to the Revolution. He will follow the community to the north slope of Beacon Hill, where African Americans established a new base to fight for equality in the antebellum era. New facts will come to light, including a black church established over 110 years before Boston’s venerable nineteenth-century African Meeting House.]

The Four Shapes of Boston
2:00 P.M. on Saturday, 20 March, at the Brooks Free Library in Harwich
John Morrison of Boston By Foot, the city’s nonprofit architectural walking-tour service

This lecture traces the city’s topography and architecture from 1630 to the present in four chapters: Surviving (the colonial period), Settling (the Federal period), Spreading (the Victorian period), and Soaring (the contemporary period). How did the great fire of 1760 feed into political turmoil in Boston over the next fifteen years, culminating in a break with Britain?

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