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, October 14, 2019

“Slavery and Its Legacies at Old North” panel, 16 Oct.

On Wednesday, 16 October, the Old North Church hosts a panel discussion on “Slavery and Its Legacies at Old North: Confronting the Past, Envisioning the Future.”

The event description says:
Captain Newark Jackson was a merchant, mariner, and congregant of Old North Church in the 1730s and 1740s who made and sold chocolate near Clark’s Shipyard in the North End. In 2013, Old North Church & Historic Site opened a living history chocolate experience named after the seemingly innocuous seafarer and cacao importer. Over the past seven years, Captain Jackson’s Historic Chocolate has become an integral part of the historic site and a beloved gem along the Freedom Trail. The story of colonial chocolate and Jackson is woven into the story of Old North Church.

In 2016, historian Jared Hardesty became intrigued with this man about whom very little was known. So began a three-year international research project that revealed significant insights into Old North’s past that affects its future. Jackson’s personal history, as that of Old North and the city of Boston, reveals a complicated past involving slave owning and slave trading that weighs upon the present and alters our sense of ourselves.
The panelists include:
  • Prof. Hardesty, author of Unfreedom: Slavery and Dependence in Eighteenth-Century Boston, now at Western Washington University
  • Prof. Jonathan Chu of University of Massachusetts, Boston
  • Madeleine Rodriguez, associate at the Foley Hoag law firm
  • Rt. Rev. Gayle E. Harris, Bishop Suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts
Their conversation will address “how a historic site comes to terms with information that alters its self-identity, its interpretation, and its public face,” examining “the complexity of past narratives, the impact of the past upon the present, and the necessity of history in correcting a fractured identity.” There will be time for questions and comments from the audience.

The event is scheduled to take place from 6:30 to 8:00 P.M. It is free, but attendees can register to attend through this page.

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