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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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Hannigan on Slavery in Concord, 28 July

On Tuesday, 28 July, the Concord Museum will host a talk by John Hannigan titled “‘She Ought to be Set at Liberty’: Slavery and Freedom in 18th-Century Massachusetts.”

Hannigan is earning his Ph.D. in History at Brandeis University. I’ve enjoyed his eye-opening presentations on African-American soldiers in the first Continental Army, how the war affected slavery in New England and vice versa.

It looks like this talk will be about how slavery was woven into the fabric of life in eighteenth-century New England. As the museum’s event description acknowledges, Concord is more used to celebrating its links to abolitionism, not slavery. Town histories even praised the Loyalist lawyer Daniel Bliss because he wrote an anti-slavery tombstone for John Jack, shown here.

But the past decade has brought new attention to the wider experience of slavery in the region with such projects as Elise Lemire’s Black Walden, the Robbins House, and the exhibit this talk comes in conjunction with, “Thomas Dugan, Yeoman of Concord” (described here).

Hannigan’s talk is scheduled for 6:00-7:00 P.M. Admission is $5 for museum members, $10 for everyone else. Reservations are required; to make them, visit the museum website or call 978-369-9763, ext. 216.

1 comment:

Mark said...

The (Massachusetts)Bliss family seemed to be heavily involved with the issue of slavery during the last third of the 18th c.. ...Daniel's son John, a lawyer, went on to represent a New Brunswick Loyalist from Maryland who argued that he had a right to slavery in that province. He actually won the case in a convoluted way, but in practical terms it brought about slavery's demise there.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Bliss from Springfield Mass. argued as early as the 1760's that “the Offspring of Slaves are not Born Slaves.” and he defended that assertion when he attained his MA. I'm uncertain as to where he stood on the matter in his later years....