The Colonial Society of Massachusetts; the DuBois Institute, Harvard University; the Museum of Afro-American History, Massachusetts; the National Park Service; and Suffolk University are pleased to announce a conference on New England Slavery and the Slave Trade, to be held in Boston, Massachusetts on April 21-23,2004 . The program committee for the conference includes: Ira Berlin, University of Maryland (chair); James Horton, George Washington University; and Joanne Melish; University of Kentucky.
New Englanders' pride in their abolitionist heritage tends to obscure the fact that slavery was once a commonplace institution in the region. This conference hopes to encourage research shedding new light on this understudied aspect of the history of American slavery. Topics the conference might address include: Puritanism and slavery; comparisons of the enslavement of Blacks and Native Americans in New England; comparative studies of slavery in New England and other regions; laws pertaining to slavery and manumission; rethinking the definition of the New England "slave community"; free Blacks in New England and the first stirrings of an abolitionist movement; the New England slave trade and the Atlantic world; as well as the question of how museums might appropriately present any of the above material to the public.
Presentations need not be strictly limited to the colonial period, but might extend through the first quarter of the nineteenth century. Public history treatments of New England slavery and the slave trade will be critically examined during the conference; presentations could include museum exhibits, first and third person interpretation in historical reenactments, documentary films, and more.
Because the Colonial Society intends to print a volume of selected proceedings drawn from the conference, formal academic papers should not have been previously printed elsewhere.
John W. Tyler, Editor of Publications
Colonial Society of Massachusetts
87 Mount Vernon Street, Boston, MA 02108
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