Interracial But Not Integrated: Colonial Churches

WED, JUN 5, 2019 (1:16:42)

A special History Matters co-presented by the Congregational Library & Archives and Old South Meeting House.

By attendance at services, being baptized, and taking the Lord’s Supper, numerous Native Americans and mostly-enslaved African Americans participated in a substantial number of New England churches between the 1730s and 1790s, including the Old South Meeting House and other Boston churches. They did so despite segregated seating arrangements and prohibitions against voting and holding church leadership positions. Professor Richard Boles shares his research into the religious lives of the African Americans and Native Americans who affiliated with eighteenth-century New England churches.

+ BIO: Richard Boles

Richard Boles is an Assistant Professor of History at Oklahoma State University where he teaches about early American history and American religious histories. He received his Ph.D. from the George Washington University and BA and MA degrees from Boston College. Boles researches race relations in northeastern Protestant churches from 1730 to 1850, and his first book manuscript titled Dividing the Faith: The Rise of Racially Segregated Northern Churches is under contract with New York University Press and will be available in 2020 or early 2021. This work examines the transition from racially diverse churches during the early eighteenth century to separate American Indian and African American congregations by the early nineteenth century in the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions. Boles has published articles in the Journal of Rhode Island History and the New England Quarterly.

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