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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Monday, April 15, 2019

Spero on “Frontier Rebels” in Worcester, 16 Apr.

On Tuesday, 16 April, the American Antiquarian Society will host a lecture by Patrick Spero on “Frontier Rebels: The Fight for Independence in the American West, 1765-1776,” based on his recent book.

The event description:
Spero will recast the familiar narrative of the American Revolution, moving the action from the Eastern Seaboard to the treacherous western frontier and recounting the untold story of the 1765 rebellion of the “Black Boys.” In doing so, he will reveal an often-overlooked truth: the West played a crucial role in igniting the flame of American independence.

In 1763, the Seven Years’ War ended in a spectacular victory for the British, but many Native Americans, fearing that the British Empire would expand onto their lands and conquer them, refused to lay down their weapons. Under the leadership of a shrewd Ottawa warrior named Pontiac, they kept fighting for their freedom, eventually spurring the British to organize one of the largest peace offerings ever assembled.

As the cargo moved into the interior of North America in search of Pontiac, a ragtag group of frontiersmen known as the “Black Boys”—dressed as Native Americans and smearing their faces with charcoal—set about stopping this peace deal in its tracks. Furious at the Empire for capitulating to Native groups, whom they considered their sworn enemies, and suspicious of British intentions, these colonists turned Native American tactics of warfare on the British Empire. The outcome of these interwoven struggles would determine whose independence would prevail on the American frontier.
Patrick Spero is the director of the American Philosophical Society Library in Philadelphia. His other books include Frontier Country: The Politics of War in Early Pennsylvania and the anthology The American Revolution Reborn: New Perspectives for the Twenty-First Century (based on this conference). Before joining the A.P.S., Spero taught at Williams College in Massachusetts.

This event is cosponsored by the Franklin M. Loew Lecture Series at Becker College. It will start at 7:00 P.M. in the newly expanded A.A.S. building, 185 Salisbury Street in Worcester. It is free to the public.

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