Annual William Lloyd Garrison Lecture
Saturday, December 10, 2022, 7:00 PM 8:30 PM. Free.
At Old South Church, 29 Federal St., Newburyport, MA
The 3rd Annual William Lloyd Garrison Lecture, delivered this year by historian Kabria Baumgartner, will examine the lesser known role that Garrison and his radical antislavery newspaper played in teaching Black youth communication arts skills that they used to advance the antislavery movement and their own careers in diverse occupations.
If an antislavery district existed in early 19th-century Boston, it would’ve surely been located near Cornhill and Brattle Streets where Garrison opened his permanent office. There, he published The Liberator, which circulated from 1831 to 1865. Garrison’s office at 25 Cornhill Street was not just home to the Liberator, however. It was also an educational space that attracted Black youth who ran errands and worked as copyists. Some even learned the printer’s trade from Garrison and his coproprietor and fellow Newburyporter, Isaac Knapp. This lecture takes you into the Liberator office to explore the “art and mystery” of printing. It explains some of the technical skills that Black youth acquired, which prepared them to become printers, run their own printing businesses, and later pivot to other careers such as medicine.
Exploring this forgotten history is vital not only to spotlight the power of the press and the impact of a collective voice in Black communities, but it also reminds us of the importance of social movements in shaping youth activism.
William Lloyd Garrison, was born in Newburyport in 1805, and was a driving force in the 19th-century abolition movement that led to the Civil War. He was one of the first to demand immediate and unconditional freedom for all slaves.
Each year, this free lecture challenges the greater Newburyport community to learn more about Garrison.
This program is made possible because of a Bridge Street Grant through Mass Humanities. More information can be found at: Mass Humanities
Kabria Baumgartner, Ph.D., is the Dean’s Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies at Northeastern University where she also serves as Associate Director of Public History. She is a historian of the 19th-century United States, with a specialization in African American history.
She is the author of the award-winning book, In Pursuit of Knowledge: Black Women and Educational Activism in Antebellum America, which tells the story of Black girls and women who fought for their educational rights in the nineteenth-century Northeast.
She recently co-curated an historical exhibit on the 19th-century youth-led equal school rights movement, “Let None Be Excluded,” which is on view through April 2024 at the Peabody Essex Museum. She is completing her second book on Black youth activism and civil rights in 19th-century Boston.