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, February 02, 2016

“Creativity in Bondage” Discussion in Hingham, 7 Feb.

On Sunday, February 7, the Abigail Adams Birthplace and the Hingham Public Library will present a program on “Creativity in Bondage: Slave Artist Prince Demah and Writer Briton Hammon.”

The event description says:
Prince Demah’s portraits of his owners, Christian and Henry Barnes, now in the collections of the Hingham Historical Society, are among the earliest known paintings by an African-American. Demah, who lived in Boston but had ties to the South Shore, received training in London and was described as a creative “genius.” Hingham resident Paula Bagger, who recently co-authored an article on Demah for The Magazine Antiques, will discuss her research into his life and work. Ms. Bagger is a member of the board of directors of the Hingham Historical Society and a practicing attorney.

Briton Hammon, an eighteenth-century slave belonging to General John Winslow of Marshfield (later of Hingham), is considered the author of one of the first published American slave autobiographies. His 1760 narrative recounts his confrontations with Native Americans and capture by Spanish sailors while on a sea voyage, and the ensuing thirteen-year ordeal in which he faced battle, torture, and imprisonment. Aaron Dougherty, executive director of Marshfield’s 1699 Winslow House and Cultural Center, will speak about Hammon’s life experiences and writings, and will discuss how narratives such as his eventually helped fuel the abolitionist movement.
The event’s moderator will be Michelle Marchetti Coughlin, author of One Colonial Woman’s World: The Life and Writings of Mehetabel Chandler Coit.

This program is scheduled to run from 3:00 to 5:00 P.M. in the the Whiton Room of the Hingham Public Library, 66 Leavitt Street. That will include time for audience questions and discussion. Admission is free and open to the public.

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