I recently had the good fortune to be on a planning committee with Dennis Culliton of the Witness Stones Project @witnessstones. He is one of the most dedicated, passionate, knowledgeable, and giving educators I have every had the privilege to engage. In that spirit, I asked him if I could share his works cited list with this community. Here it is:
Witness Stones Project
Annotated Works Cited
Asher, Rev. Jeremiah. Incidents in the Life of the Rev. J. Asher, Pastor of Shiloh. Charles Gilpin, 1850.
This work was written by the grandson of Gad Asher who was enslaved in Guilford and fought in the American Revolution. The author, Rev. Jeremiah Asher, was an abolitionist and the first African American chaplain in the army to die in service to the United States during the Civil War.
Bontemps, Arna, ed. Five Black Lives: The Autobiographies of Venture Smith, James Mars, William Grimes, The Rev. G.W. Offley, and James L. Smith. Wesleyan University Press, 1971
This important source contains the autobiographies/slave narratives of two individuals held in captivity in Connecticut (Venture Smith and James Mars). The originals can also be found in digital format online. Venture Smith was held captive in southeastern Connecticut; James Mars was held captive in northwestern Connecticut.
Brace, Jeffry. The Blind African Slave; Or Memoirs of Boyrereau Brinch, Nicknamed Jeffrey Brace. University of Wisconsin Press, 2004.
This is one of three extant autobiographies/slave narratives of Jeffry Brace, a person enslaved in Connecticut. He was held captive in southwestern New Haven County.
Caron, Denis R. A Century in Captivity: The Life and Trials of Prince Mortimer, a Connecticut Slave. University of New Hampshire Press, 2006.
This book details the life of Prince Mortimor who was held in captivity in Middletown, CT, and in prison at the (Old) Newgate Prison for a total of over 100 years. His story of servitude, agency, resistance, and resiliance predicts the lives of many people of color who followed.
Culliton, Dennis. Slavery and Freedom in Madison and Guilford CT. Guilford Free Library Papers, no. 7, 2017.
This work is a foundational research into slavery in Guilford, CT. It provides the evidence and materials used to create the Witness Stones Project and the “Five Themes of Slavery”.
Farrow, Anne, Joel Lang, and Jenifer Frank. Complicity; How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery. Hartford Courant Company, 2005.
The story of how Connecticut and all of the north benefited from slavery is documented in this book. It includes details about slavery in the 17th and 18th centuries, the West Indian Trade, and the importation of ivory tusks from Africa for the piano industries.
Farrow, Anne. The Logbooks: Connecticut’s Slave Ships and Human Memory. Wesleyan University Press, 2014.
Using the slave ship log books kept by Dudley Saltonstall of Connecticut, the author uncovers the business and horrors of the slave trade emanating from our shores.
Griswold, Mary Hoadly. Yester-Years of Guilford. The Shoreline Times Publishing,1938.
These are local anecdotes about historic houses and the persons who lived in them. The author included the stories of those held in servitude during colonial and early American periods.
Menta, John. The Quinnipiac: Cultural Conflict in Southern New England. Yale University Press, 2010.
This is a well researched monograph that shows the use of colonial courts to deprive the Quinnipiac, a southern Connecticut tribe, of their ancestral lands. Debt, servitude, and confiscation of property were precise tools used to change ownership of the land and displacement of local populations.
Saint, Chandler B. and George A Krimsky. Making Freedom: The Extraordinary Life of Venture Smith. Wesleyan University Press, 2009.
This reinterpretation of the life of Venture Smith includes new details, maps, and a complete facsimile of the autobiography.
White, David O. Connecticut Black Soldiers, 1775-1783. Pequot Press, 1973.
Before Ancestry.com and other online sources, the author gathered and arranged evidence of the hundreds of free and enslaved African Americans from Connecticut who fought and served in the Revolutionary War. A great place to find evidence of local slavery and service.
Long Island, New York: Hayes, Katherine Howlett. Slavery Before Race: Europeans, Africans, and Indians at Long Island’s Sylvester Manor Plantation, 1651-1884. New York University Press, 2013.
This historic archeological study of indigenous and African slavery and the West India trades is based on the exploration of a specific site on Shelter Island which is located between the fork on eastern Long Island. The archeological evidence at this site is unique and adds to the archival evidence unearthed by the author.
Massachusetts: Gerzina, Gretchen Holebrook. Mr. and Mrs. Prince: How an Extraordinary Eighteenth-Century Family Moved Out of Slavery and Into Legend. Amistad, 2008.
The story of Lucy Terry and Abijah Prince is told through account books, property records, court proceedings, and anecdotes. Most of the story of their servitude takes place in western Massachusetts while much of their time in freedom is spent in Vermont. Interesting sources are used by the author to put flesh on the bones of the historical record.
Lemire, Elise. Black Walden: Slavery and Its Aftermath in Concord, Massachusetts. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009.
Using the home of the Transcendentalist movement in New England, the author uses multiple sources to tell the story of African slavery and the freedom in the town of Concord, northwest of Boston. In her story, she uncovers the realtionshiop of status and slave-holding. She introduced me to the term and use of gibbeting as a medieval method of execution.
Manegold, C.S. Ten Hills Farm: The Forgotten History of Slavery in the North. Princeton University Press, 2010.
Using the property that was home to generations of enslaved Africans and African Americans, the author creates the world for us where the products produced in New England are traded for sugar and molasses and other crops. Those items, created in an economy focused on enslaved labor in the West Indies in the 17th and 18th centuries made the economic world go round. Successive owners including the Winthrops and the Royalls populate this book, as do those that are held in servitude. The fact that there is still an extant “slave quarters” on the Royall House property in Massachusetts allows us to better understand the past.
Romer, Robert H. Slavery in the Connecticut Valley of Massachusetts. Levellers Press, 2009.
Using extensive research of the area known as Historic Deerfield, the author, a retired physics professor, uncovered a story of slavery in this western Massachusetts community, one person at a time. His use of wills, probates, inventories, account books, church archives, and anecdotes provided me with a toolkit in my research to uncover enslaved persons who were held in captivity 100 miles away in southern Connecticut.
Clark-Pujara, Christy. Dark Work: The Business of Slavery in Rhode Island. New York University Press, 2016.
Rhode Island’s “dark” history associated with slavery started early with indigenous slavery but really did not get going until residents started to send ships to the west coast of Africa to bring enslaved men and women to the New World. The author not only details the economics of providing captive laborers to the West Indies, but also the economics of providing food and manufactured goods to the West Indies through the use of domestic slave labor.
DeWolf, Thomas Norman. Inheriting the Trade: A Northern Family Confronts Its Legacy as the Largest Slave-Trading Dynasty in U.S. History. Beacon Press, 2008.
Centered in Bristol, RI and West Africa, this book describes a family’s journey to understand their slave-trading past. It uncovers the author’s journey to understanding his white privilege, his community’s wealth, and what needs to be done to make things whole.
Calloway, Colin G. ed. After King Philip’s War: Presence and Persistence in Indian New England. University Press New England, 1997.
This collection of articles concerns tribes and tribal members in New
England who survived disease, warfare, land confiscation, and erasure. Details include debt servitude and the intersection of African and African American lives with the lives of local tribal members.
Control, Robert J. From African to Yankee: Narratives of Slavery and Freedom in Antebellum New England. M.E. Sharpe, 1998.
This is a collection of New England slave narratives including Venture Smith,, Ellanor Eldridge, James Mars, William J. Brown, and George Henry. These autobiographies tell the story of slavery and freedom in Rhode Island and Connecticut.
Hardesty, Jared Ross. Black Lives, Native Lands, White Worlds: A History of Slavery in New England. Bright Leaf, 2019.
A thorough history of slavery in New England, this work exposes the legal, religious, and economic choices made to first control the lives and bodies of those enslaved and then provide emancipation and partial freedom in the post revolutionary world. The author helps us understand warfare and debt peonage as methods of enslaving the tribal members. He also shows the religious references of the “curse of Ham” and the legal idea of “following the mother” as underlying concerts on how slavery was justified. He elevates the economic reality of the New England household as a means of production and the use of slavery to increase that productivity.
Melish, Joanne Pope. Disowning Slavery: Gradual Emancipaton and “Race” in New England, 1780-1860. Cornell University Press, 1998.
This is the author’s seminal work on African slavery and freedom in New England as well as the dominant culture’s desire to forget its slave-holding past and central role in the slave trade. It informs all other work on New England slavery to follow. Her explanation of the white-washing of New England communities of African American citizens, as well as the history of slavery, shows the level of erasure that was used to oppose slavery and the slave-based economy in the South as the country approached the Civil War.
Newell, Margaret Ellen. Brethren By Nature: New England Indians, Colonists, and the Origins of American Slavery. Cornell University Press, 2015.
Focusing on indigenous slavery in New England, the author cites the use of Indian Wars as a form of land and labor acquisition. The transformation of indentured servitude to chattel slavery for many of the tribal members paved the way to gain ownership of the indigenous servants and their children. The “follow the mother” rule is shown to be misapplied among children of indigenous mothers and African fathers.
Pierson, William D. Black Yankees: The Development of an Afro-American Subculture in Eighteenth-Century New England. University of Massachusetts Press, 1988.
Using sources as varied as Rev. Lyman Beecher’s autobiography, descriptions of slave governor elections, census data, and local anecdotes, the author helps us develop an understanding of Black culture in New England. Identifying cultural practices brought with immigrants/captives from Africa assist in the reinterpretation of those practices identified in the past that relate to the lives of captive and free and Black in New England.
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