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, October 27, 2020

“Finding a Voice without the Vote” Panel, 29 Oct.

On Thursday, 29 October, I’ll be part of an online panel discussion on “Finding a Voice without the Vote: 18th Century,” presented by Revolutionary Spaces, custodian of the Old South Meeting House and Old State House in Boston.

“In this contentious election year,” the event description says, “we’re reminded voting has never been the only way to make your voice heard. Join us as we reflect on ways some 18th-century New Englanders built power and shaped priorities both within and outside of their communities.”

The panel will be:
  • Amanda Moniz, the David M. Rubenstein Curator of Philanthropy, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, discussing how women and African Americans shaped public priorities through philanthropy.
  • Kerima Lewis, an early American historian with a focus on slavery in New England, exploring “Negro Election Days” and how they helped build power within enslaved communities.
  • J. L. Bell, talking about how poor men and youth affected public policy through service in militia organizations.
The organizers invite people registering for this event to share other “under-told stories of exercising leadership and power to inform priorities within communities outside of typical government power structures.”

This discussion is scheduled to start at 6:30 P.M. (That means people can switch over after watching Peter Onuf and Annette Gordon-Reed discuss the changing image of Thomas Jefferson for the Massachusetts Historical Society, starting at 5:30.) To register, please start at this page.

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