History Matters Series - All Men Created Equal? The History of Slavery in Massachusetts
In 1638, a ship named The Desire arrived in Boston Harbor carrying tobacco, cotton, and enslaved Africans. Thus began the history of slavery in Massachusetts, a practice that continued for nearly 150 years, through the signing of the Declaration of independence and most of the Revolution. Massachusetts became the first state to abolish slavery in 1783.
Over the centuries, the abolition grew from a fringe belief to a widely accepted position. Massachusetts was uniquely positioned to be the first state to abolish slavery. But what happened between the beginning and end of slavery in Massachusetts? This talk will explore the origins of slavery in the Commonwealth, the subsequent protests against it, and why Massachusetts ultimately became the first state to abolish the practice.
Shawn Quigley is a park guide for the National Park Service at Boston African American National Historic Site. He has been with site since 2012, working part time with the NPS as a student until he graduated from Suffolk University in 2014 with bachelor's degree in history. Since then, he has worked at Boston African American National Historic Site full-time where he gives Black Heritage Trail tours, conducts local outreach, and serves as the site’s social media coordinator. He is currently enrolled at UMass Boston and is working towards a master's degree in American Studies.
Wednesday, August 31st
noon - 1:30 pm
cover of The Liberty Bell (1856 ed.) published by the American Anti-Slavery Society, via Wikimedia Commons