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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Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Two Talks at the Royall House & Slave Quarters

This spring the Royall House and Slave Quarters in Medford is hosting two lectures on slavery in the early republic.

On Wednesday, 15 May, Henry Wiencek will speak on his book Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves.
In his provocative study, Wiencek argues that the author of the Declaration of Independence shifted his position on slavery for financial reasons, after becoming convinced that the only way to make a success of his debt-ridden plantation was through what he called the “silent profits” gained from those he enslaved.
Wiencek is also author of The Hairstons: An American Family in Black and White and An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America. He is a son of Dorchester and graduate of Boston College High School.

This talk starts at 7:30 P.M. It costs $5, or free for Royall House and Slave Quarters members.

On the afternoon of Saturday, 8 June, literary historian Lois Brown offers a presentation titled “Marked with the furrows of time”: Belinda, the Royalls, and Accounts of Freedom. The Medford Historical Society explains how Belinda, enslaved to the Loyalist Isaac Royall, petitioned the Massachusetts legislature in 1783 for a pension from his confiscated estate.

Brown is a professor in the African American Studies Program and the Department of English at Wesleyan University. She is the author of Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins: Black Daughter of the Revolution.

Brown’s talk is part of an annual benefit for the site that runs from 3:00 to 5:00. It will include tours and exhibits, music, and refreshments. Tickets are $35 for members, $45 for non-members.

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