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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Thursday, June 25, 2015

“Perspectives on the Boston Massacre,” 7-9 July

On 7-9 July, the Massachusetts Historical Society will host a multi-day workshop investigating “Perspectives on the Boston Massacre.” It’s designed for teachers, librarians, and members of the public interested in exploring the Massacre in depth through primary-source documents.

The workshop description says:

On the evening of March 5, 1770, a confrontation between British soldiers and a boisterous crowd in front of the Custom House on King Street in Boston turned deadly. Five men were killed and nine soldiers were tried for their murder. Why and how did this confrontation come to pass? In the days after the event, the men who lost their lives became martyrs for the Patriot cause, and propagandists labeled the event a “massacre.” Using letters, depositions, newspapers, and engravings, we will explore how participants, onlookers, residents, authorities, and outsiders made meaning of the “massacre” and its aftermath.
Highlights include:
  • Touring the Bostonian Society’s Old State House and other sites associated with the Boston Massacre with Dr. Robert Allison, Professor of History at Suffolk University.
  • Viewing original documents and artifacts of the pre-Revolutionary era from the M.H.S. collections, and exploring more on its website on the Massacre.
  • Discussing various perspectives on the Massacre, the role of propaganda, and public memory of the event with the M.H.S. staff and me.
Yes, I’m on the bill for the last day. Current plans call for participants to spend the first two days coming up with questions and issues to discuss, and I’ll try to shape my presentation around those. Let’s not make this too hard, though.

Because of generous support from the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati, the cost of those three days is only $35 per person, and that includes two lunches, admissions to all the sites visited, and copies of the readings. Educators can also earn 22.5 P.D.P.’s. Find the link of the registration form here.

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