Memory of the Slave Trade in New England

FRI, APR 23, 2004 (2:12:54)

A panel discusses the way New England’s pride in its abolitionist heritage has obscured the presence of slavery in the region for over 200 years, from its first founding to the institution’s ultimate demise through schemes of gradual emancipation. Though New England’s role in the conduct of the slave trade is perhaps better known, the recent compilation of data related to that trade makes this an auspicious time to examine new research in this area.

+ BIO: Beverly Morgan-Welch

Beverly A. Morgan-Welch serves as the chief executive of the oldest and most visible African American history museum in New England located on Bostons Beacon Hill and Nantucket. With four historic sites and collections that preserve the powerful past of African Americans from the Colonial Period through the Abolitionist Movement, the museum provides Black Heritage Trail tours, exhibits and education programs that illuminate and share a liberating American History. Beverlys career spans three decades of experience in not-for-profit management and corporate philanthropy. She has served as the Executive Director of the Greater Hartford Arts Council, Director of Development at the Wadsworth Atheneum, and Assistant Dean of Admission at Amherst College. Beverly was also the Manager of Community Relations at Raytheon, a member of the Board of Directors of the Bank of Hartford, and Secretary of the Connecticut Mutual Life Foundation serving the companys Corporate Social Responsibility Department. As a volunteer, her achievements include serving as Co-Chairperson of the Inauguration of the Honorable Deval Patrick, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and raising funds for the Bishop Desmond Tutu Southern African Refugee Scholarship Fund. A graduate of Smith College with a major in Theatre and Speech, in 2009, she received the Smith Medal awarded to graduates who, in the judgment of the trustees, exemplify in their lives and work the true purpose of a liberal arts education. Currently she is a Member of three distinguished history institutions: the Antiquarian Society, the Colonial Society of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Historical Society. Beverly Morgan-Welch, the widow of the Reverend Mark Welch, resides in Andover, Massachusetts with their daughter, Alexandra.

+ BIO: John Wood Sweet

Within the general field of Early American history, John Wood Sweet’s research focuses on the dynamics of colonialism and on the interplay of religious cultures. In Bodies Politic he explores the encounters of Indians, Africans, and Europeans in New England and argues that the racial legacy of colonialism shaped the emergence of the American North as well as the South. Sweet has also worked with other historians and literary scholars on the Jamestown colony and its broader cultural and international contexts. Now, he is beginning a new project on dreams, visions, apparitions, trances, and other out-of-body experiences-and how various groups of early Americans interpreted them.

+ BIO: Patrick Rael

Patrick Rael is a specialist in African-American history, who earned his PhD in American History from the University of California, Berkeley in 1995. He is the author of numerous essays and books, including Black Identity and Black Protest in the Antebellum North published in 2002, which earned Honorable Mention for the Frederick Douglass Prize from the Gilder Lerhman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition. Rael is also the editor of African-American Activism before the Civil War: The Freedom Struggle in the Antebellum North, and co-editor of Pamphlets of Protest: An Anthology of Early African-American Protest Literature.

+ BIO: David W. Blight

David W. Blight is Class of 1954 Professor of American History at Yale University, joining that faculty in January, 2003. He previously taught at Amherst College for 13 years. As of June, 2004, he is Director, succeeding David Brion Davis, of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale. Blight was elected as a member of the Society of American Historians in 2002. Since 2004 he has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the New York Historical Society and the board for African American Programs at Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia. He also serves on the board of advisors to the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and is involved in planning numerous conferences and events to commemorate both the Lincoln anniversary and the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. In his capacity as director of the Gilder Lehrman Center at Yale, Blight organizes conferences, working groups, lectures, the administering of the annual Frederick Douglass Book Prize, and many public outreach programs regarding the history of slavery and its abolition.

+ BIO: Julie Saville

Julie Saville’s research and teaching are focused on plantation societies of the southern United States and regions of the Caribbean from the 18th through the 20th centuries. She is especially interested in how broad historical changes during the era of trans-Atlantic slave emancipations are related to daily life, the social relations of labor, and popular forms of political expression.

Museum of African American History
Our Democracy Series
Slavery and the Making of America Series