Hosted by Wellesley Free Library
Wednesday, February 8, 2023 from 7:00pm – 8:00pm
From 1775-1776, 105 Brattle Street (today Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site) became General George Washington’s first major headquarters of the Revolution. While Washington’s time at Cambridge Headquarters is well-documented, this site also provides a lens into intersections of Black history in Revolutionary America.
Join Emily Levine of Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site for a discussion of how free and enslaved Black members of Washington’s war camp interacted with one another, members of the local community, and Washington himself. Washington corresponded with poet Phillis Wheatley; he segregated the Continental Army, then reversed the decision. The family of Tony and Cuba Vassall, formerly enslaved by the house’s first owner, lived in freedom next to people enslaved by the Washingtons, including William Lee; Lee married Margaret Thomas, a free Black seamstress paid by the Continental Army. Their history is fundamental to this place and to the founding era of our nation. Who was excluded in the Founders’ quest for American liberty, and how did they advocate for their own vision of a “more perfect union”?
Emily Levine has been the Program Manager for Interpretation and Education at Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site since March 2020. She previously worked at Lowell National Historical Park (MA), and as the Interpretive Supervisor on Alcatraz Island and at Muir Woods National Monument (CA). Emily holds a master’s degree in museum education from Tufts University. She is a proponent of museums and historic sites as locations for critical thinking, community dialogue, and civic engagement. Emily lives in Boston with her husband and their two-year-old.
Presented in partnership with the Wellesley Historical Society.