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, September 06, 2016

Jared Ross Hardesty Lecture and Seminar, 14-15 Sept.

On Wednesday, 14 September, Old North Church will host a lecture by Jared Ross Hardesty, author of the new book Unfreedom: Slavery and Dependence in Eighteenth-Century Boston. Hardesty is an Assistant Professor of History at Western Washington University and blogs through the African American Intellectual History Society website.

Old North’s announcement for this talk says:
Hardesty takes us inside the lives and worlds of enslaved Bostonians in the 18th century. In doing so, this lecture will reconstruct an 18th-century Atlantic world of unfreedom that stretched from Europe to Africa to America. Boston’s slaves lived in this place that was characterized by many different forms of dependence and oppression, including Indian slavery, indentured servitude, and apprenticeship. In this hierarchical and inherently unfree world, enslaved Bostonians were more concerned with their everyday treatment and honor than with emancipation, as they pushed for autonomy, protected their families and communities, and demanded a place in society.

By reassessing the lives of Boston’s slave population as part of a social order structured by ties of dependence, Hardesty not only demonstrates how African slaves were able to decode their new homeland and shape the terms of their enslavement, but also tells the story of how marginalized peoples engrained themselves in the very fabric of colonial American society.

The book is of particular interest to Old North as Hardesty describes the black congregation of Old North, both free and enslaved, in some detail. Hardesty also describes the role of slave owners, including Old North’s chocolatier, Captain Newark Jackson, the namesake for Captain Jackson’s Historic Chocolate Shop.
Prof. Hardesty is scheduled to speak at 6:30 P.M. in Old North. There will be a book signing and reception afterwards. The event is open to the public, but attendees are asked to register and consider a donation to the church.

Scholars and educators who attend Hardesty’s talk on Wednesday are also invited to participate in a “small, intensive seminar” he’ll lead on Thursday, 15 September, from 1:00 to 5:00 P.M. at the Royall House & Slave Quarters in Medford. The “New Perspectives on Slavery in New England” seminar is free, but participants must register.

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