Researching Black Histories from the Eustis Estate: Notes on Process

By Eleanor Proctor Research Scholar, Historic New England In the fall of 2021, I began a research fellowship at Historic New England’s Study Center in Milton, MA, hoping to find information on those who worked for the Eustis family at their estate there between 1880 and 1930. I expected to see histories of the Irish … Continue reading Researching Black Histories from the Eustis Estate: Notes on Process

A Presidential Pardon

By Bill Grabin Just History: Uncovering an Inclusive Story of the People of the Kennebunk Region On March 20, 1830, the following statement came forth from the White House: “Whereas it has been represented to me that the American Brig Volant … belonging to Adam Stone and Asa Fairfield, citizens of the United States residing … Continue reading A Presidential Pardon

Abolition and the Underground Railroad in Essex County

By Gordon Harris The Fugitive Slave Acts By the time of the United States Constitutional Convention in 1787, many Northern states including Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut had already abolished slavery, but Article 4 of the Constitution included a clause that, “no person held to service or labor” would be released from … Continue reading Abolition and the Underground Railroad in Essex County

Making Connections and Recovering History

By Scot McFarlane Research Scholar, Historic New England, Northern New England Region Though I recently completed my dissertation on the history of slavery on Texas’ Trinity River, studying and understanding slavery’s history in New England has been a very different experience. As one of four new research scholars at Historic New England, my job is … Continue reading Making Connections and Recovering History

Disposition of the Enslaved in a Salem Household: The Probate of Hannah (Clark) Cabot

By Beth Bower As an antidote to any lingering ignorance of slavery in Essex County and the cruel reality of enslavement and racism in the North, I offer the probate of widow Hannah (Clark) Cabot of Salem, Massachusetts. Proved in 1764, the inventory and disposition of Rose, Peter, and Celia makes clear that these individuals … Continue reading Disposition of the Enslaved in a Salem Household: The Probate of Hannah (Clark) Cabot

How the Myth of a Liberal North Erases a Long History of White Violence

Anti-black racism has terrorized African Americans throughout the nation’s history, regardless of where in the country they lived. By Christy Clark-Pujara and Anna-Lisa Cox This article was originally published on the blog for the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History as the first of a five-part series titled "Black Life in Two Pandemics: Histories of … Continue reading How the Myth of a Liberal North Erases a Long History of White Violence

What Alexander Hamilton’s deep connections to slavery reveal about the need for reparations today

Alexander Hamilton publicly opposed slavery, but research reveals he was also complicit in it. Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution Nicole S. Maskiell, University of South Carolina Alexander Hamilton has received a resurgence of interest in recent years on the back of the smash Broadway musical bearing his name. But alongside tales of his role in … Continue reading What Alexander Hamilton’s deep connections to slavery reveal about the need for reparations today

Cicely was young, Black and enslaved – her death during an epidemic in 1714 has lessons that resonate in today’s pandemic

Over 3.2 million people have died from COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. How history memorializes them will reflect those we most value.CC BY-ND Nicole S Maskiell, University of South Carolina What I believe to be the oldest surviving gravestone for a Black person in the Americas memorializes an enslaved teenager named Cicely. Cicely’s … Continue reading Cicely was young, Black and enslaved – her death during an epidemic in 1714 has lessons that resonate in today’s pandemic

Jagged Edges of Progress, Part II

By Elise A. Guyette Originally published at https://rokeby.org/blog/. From 1793 to 1961, Rokeby was home to four generations of Robinsons — a remarkable family of Quakers, farmers, abolitionists, artists, and authors. Today, the Robinson family’s home is a National Historic Landmark, designated for its exceptional Underground Railroad history. Rokeby is among the best-documented Underground Railroad … Continue reading Jagged Edges of Progress, Part II

Building a Better Black Box

By Meadow Dibble What you are looking at is a document chest believed to have belonged to Elijah Cobb (1768–1848), one of New England’s most celebrated sea captains and the founding father of my hometown on Cape Cod. You might even call it a 19th-century black box, since the purpose of this object, like that … Continue reading Building a Better Black Box

Jagged Edges of Progress, Part I

By Elise A. Guyette Originally published at https://rokeby.org/blog/. From 1793 to 1961, Rokeby was home to four generations of Robinsons — a remarkable family of Quakers, farmers, abolitionists, artists, and authors. Today, the Robinson family’s home is a National Historic Landmark, designated for its exceptional Underground Railroad history. Rokeby is among the best-documented Underground Railroad … Continue reading Jagged Edges of Progress, Part I

For Whaling Captains, Diversity Flourished

By Skip Finley Many splendid homes on Martha’s Vineyard were built by whaling captains, but little has been written about the origin of the money that allowed their construction. For 156 years — from 1738 to 1894 — whaling dominated the economy on Martha’s Vineyard. Capt. Joseph Belain painting by Elizabeth Whalen Southern New England … Continue reading For Whaling Captains, Diversity Flourished

Slavery and African Americans in early Castine

Castine, Maine is a small coastal town in Hancock County, Maine. Long used seasonally for fishing and trade by Native Americans, the area was first occupied by whites beginning in 1629. Over the course of 200 years, French, English, Dutch and Americans fought over this highly prized and strategically placed deep water port. Permanent settlement … Continue reading Slavery and African Americans in early Castine

Stories from the Black Atlantic World

By Samantha Payne, Ph.D. Candidate at Harvard University, Andrew W. Mellon Short-Term Fellow at the Massachusetts Historical Society This article was originally published on the blog for the Massachusetts Historical Society. It appeared on March 24, 2021. Reprinted with the permission of the author. In the past year, the Massachusetts Historical Society highlighted collections that … Continue reading Stories from the Black Atlantic World

Reparations Update to our Congregation

#Atlantic Black Box Blog Post #3 Our Reparations Task Force led the worship service last Sunday on Zoom. Thanks to all who attended. It was the first time we informed our congregation of the extent of our work so far.  When we have put the service up on the church’s website, http://www.fbpuu.org, I will post … Continue reading Reparations Update to our Congregation