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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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Talks on Slavery and Freedom in Newton, 7 and 26 April

Historic Newton, the Myrtle Baptist Church in that city, and Mass Humanities are presenting two talks this month on the history of slavery in Middlesex County, Massachusetts.

On Thursday, 7 April, at 7:00 P.M. Tracey Grahan, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Chicago, will discuss slavery’s appearance in Newton in the 1600s, its gradual end, and the growth of a black community in West Newton. That neighborhood provided a base from which local African-Americans asserted their civil and religious rights in the following centuries.

On Tuesday, 26 April, at 7:00 P.M. Prof. Elise Lemire will speak on “Slavery in America’s Birthplace: Rethinking the History of Concord.” Author of Black Walden: Slavery and its Aftermath in Concord, Massachusetts, Lemire will examine how and why local elites used slaves, conditions of those people’s daily lives, how they helped effect their own emancipation, and what became of them. I heard Lemire speak on this topic last year and have read parts of her book, and I’m impressed by her research and analysis.

Both talks will take place at the Myrtle Baptist Church, 21 Curve Street, in West Newton. Both are free and open to the public.

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