Beyond Slavery and Freedom: New Perspectives on the Lives of Enslaved Bostonians
Wednesday, September 14, 6:30pm
Co-sponsored by Royall House & Slave Quarters
Discussing his new book, Unfreedom: Slavery and Dependence in Eighteenth-Century Boston, Jared Ross Hardesty takes us inside the lives and worlds of enslaved Bostonians in the 18th century. In doing so, this lecture will reconstruct an 18th century Atlantic world of unfreedom that stretched from Europe to Africa to America. Boston’s slaves lived in this place that was characterized by many different forms of dependence and oppression, including Indian slavery, indentured servitude, and apprenticeship. In this hierarchical and inherently unfree world, enslaved Bostonians were more concerned with their everyday treatment and honor than with emancipation, as they pushed for autonomy, protected their families and communities, and demanded a place in society. By reassessing the lives of Boston’s slave population as part of a social order structured by ties of dependence, Hardesty not only demonstrates how African slaves were able to decode their new homeland and shape the terms of their enslavement, but also tells the story of how marginalized peoples engrained themselves in the very fabric of colonial American society.
The book is of particular interest to Old North as Hardesty describes the black congregation of Old North, both free and enslaved, in some detail. Hardesty also describes the role of slave owners, including Old North’s chocolatier, Captain Newark Jackson, the namesake for Captain Jackson’s Historic Chocolate Shop. Please join us for this lecture followed by a book signing and reception.
Jared R. Hardesty is a historian of colonial America and the Atlantic World. His research investigates the contours of slavery, labor, and the nature of power in British North America. He completed a B.A. in History at Ohio Northern University and a MA and Ph.D. in History from Boston College and is currently an Assistant Professor of History at Western Washington University.