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, April 20, 2021

Lexington Lectures, 22-24 April

The Lexington Historical Society isn’t resting after a busy Patriots Day weekend. It’s offering four online presentations this week.

Thursday, 22 April, 7:00 P.M.
The Will of the People
Prof. T.H. Breen delivers a special Cronin lecture discussing how the ordinary people of New England reacted to war in their backyards. Based on his book The Will of the People, Breen’s talk will explore how debates raged throughout the country about the fate of the new nation when the outcome of the war was far from certain, while fiery Patriots like the Rev. Jonas Clarke continued to keep the dream alive.

Friday, 23 April, 10:00 A.M.
The Right to Liberty
African-Americans, both enslaved and free, grappled with what becoming part of a nation where all men were theoretically created equal meant, and often took matters into their own hands when the liberties they were owed did not come to fruition. Professional storyteller Valerie Tutson shares the heroic tales of James Forten, who as a teenager fought against the British navy and later worked to abolish slavery, and Elizabeth Freeman, who in 1781 successfully sued for her freedom, citing the Massachusetts constitution. This program is suitable for all ages.

Friday, 23 April, 2:00 P.M.
April 19th Collections Spotlight
The Lexington Historical Society’s museums hold many relics of the first day of the Revolution. Objects that witnessed bloody battle live in situ in our historic houses or rest in exhibit cases, and still more spend their time behind closed doors in our archives. Join Collections and Outreach Manager Stacey Fraser for a behind-the-scenes look at some of the most treasured, but least seen, relics of the Revolution in our museum collection.

Saturday, 24 April, 4:00 P.M.
Noble Volunteers
Author Don Hagist has spent years studying the demographics and personal stories of British soldiers. Far from nameless killing machines, these men came from a variety of ages, ethnicities, and occupations. Many had far more in common with the Americans than we remember, and most never expected to one day be waging war with their own people when they took the King’s shilling. Hagist shares surprising insights from his latest book.

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