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tv   Lectures in History Slavery in the Northern Colonies  CSPAN  February 23, 2023 7:54pm-9:09pm EST

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well, welcome, everyone. today. today i wanted to start with a story that is near and dear to my heart. some of you may already know the story or have heard the story, but today we're going to be talking about an unexpected slavery. and unlike the other weeks, this week we're going to be talking about the part of history that i my research in and i wanted to start with the story that started me in history because i do not want to be a historian when i was where you were, i was interested in doing international relations or anything else. but i had to take a class in order to kind of fill my requirements. we all know how that. and so i chose a class culture and early america and i thought it would be an interesting class. but when i got there i realized that the final paper was on an object and it was 40 pages on an
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object. and i thought, oh yes, i'm about to this class. i really shouldn't have done, but i stuck by and they found my object and the object i was a tombstone, a grave, a grave marker for young girl. she would have been a teenager and she was named cecily. and i got really curious about this person right. like, why did have this marker mean? markers are expensive. if anyone knows anything even today, you know, trying to get a tombstone is not an easy feat. and so this is something that really stayed with me, really got me kind of wondering. and it's what pulled me into history. and so i wanted to share the marker. you i know i've talked to you about kind of the story in the past we first met, but i wanted to show you the marker just to show what in the history can do to kind of change perspective. right.
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and think and make it make things a little bit different because this marker, you know, in a in a cemetery in charleston, south carolina, or somewhere in virginia, no this marker was across the from the main kind of harvard yard in a small cemetery known as old cambridge burial ground. and i was completely blown away to find out that there had been slavery in the north. this is not something that i knew about i'd even heard about before. and i knew, wow, this is a really unique thing. must be a lot of things written about it. well, there wasn't. and i suppose that was good for me for the future because i was able to be the one to write or write about it. but today we're going to be looking at slavery in this unexpected place and how on earth did we get did did did enslavement occur in the northern colonies, what we consider to be the northern colonies? okay. so we want to start at the
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beginning and the beginning is a moment that we've talked about before, right? the entwining of indigenous slavery talked about that when we looked at the history of the the indian slave trade. right, the tuscarora war. but much like in that instance and instance there was an entwining between the moment of african native enslavement. now the first reference to african slavery in in at least in massachusetts actually i'm sorry in new england was in reference to the war in 37. so really early in the 17th century you're seeing the first reference to this entwining and this war was about was was centered around the indians in connecticut and they'd been encroached by a european settlement that were coming into the region. and they struck back. right.
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they struck back. and they struck that back at a town called wethersfield, connecticut. a few months after that, the massachusetts and connecticut militias kind of joined forces in order to retaliate and the retaliate the retaliation really came through to the village of connecticut and it was a slaughter after this kind of ambush in mystic, connecticut, the women and children were enslaved in new england. so you get refugees right from this, from this, from what happened in being kind of fanned out as enslaved people across new england. but the men and boys who were considered to threatening. right if they were to stay in the region they might be able to amass and kind of regroup up and attack again. they were actually traded down to the caribbean, down to to the
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into slave markets of the caribbean. and they were actually put on a ship, the name of the ship was the ship desire. and they were sent down a ship that had been built in new england. it was built with new england timber, and this ship was sent down to the caribbean and they were sold these the men boys were sold in exchange for african enslaved people. and so those people would then go on the ship, desire and come back up to massachusetts. and this was a very important moment in history because. this was the first time that enslaved african people sold in new england. and this was 1638. so remember, talked about kind of all of these dates, 16, 19, 16, 27 with new york and now 1638 here with the desire. now this becomes the policy.
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this becomes something that people are looking to do. they start to see how this is a way both dispossess indigenous people of their of their homelands and also make some money and be kind of a lasting way to to claim the land and so i want to talk a little bit about how they did this right. so is an idea that people start think that the european colonies start to think is a good policy and so they decide to to start doing this in subsequent wars. in fact, in 1940, it's in 1646 and 1946. this is a long over, thank goodness. but in 1646, it was just it becomes the official policy in new england and in fact, master massachusetts, not south carolina, not north carolina, not, you know, virginia.
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massachusetts was first colony to set up the first legal precedent around slavery in the north and in the english north american colonies. and that precedent was adopted in a document known as the body of liberties in 1641. and this body liberties established the of slavery and the way that they established this legality of. slavery was for those people quote taken unjust wars or those and such strangers as do willingly themselves or are sold to us. now, remember when we looked at laws the early in virginia that you you have kind of language isn't as defined right so you can see that they're trying to keep some flexibility in case need to change how they're going to be doing this now when two
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massachusetts slave merchants joined with london traders in a massacre of, an african village in 1645, the colonial government registered its indignation right. they were like, this is man stealing. you can still see there's some debate as to the morality of what is happening. and this of course, coming down from a religious government. right. we talked about this is a theocracy and they said these people were were guilty of the biblical crime of man stealing it. help that this also happened on a sunday on the on what they consider to be the sabbath. so this this you can see a little bit of kind of pushback. but besides this kind of legal moment when they were accused of man stealing this was not something that became a problem as the as the decades went on and so we're talking about new
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england we're talking massachusetts. and, of course, what's the first thing that you think about when we're you know, the first thing that you associate with massachusetts in the 17th century? any ideas? yes. the puritans is right. and the events around the puritans. yes, the salem witch trials. right. salem. right, the salem witch trials. if you've ever seen anything on kind of popular shows or so many shows now about salem, some more historically accurate than others, but usually it involves you. what happened in salem, which of course a lot of people executed, but a lot times people talk about being burned at the stake. i even watched just recently trevor noah was talking about they burning people at the stake in salem this is actually a fairy misconception no one was actually burned the stake in salem and it be forgiven because there was a great witch hunts in europe where lots of people burned at the stake.
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so people are kind of that but nobody was burned at the stake in salem. however, i do want to talk about the specter burning at the stake and how it connects to this moment because this punishing minute did happen in colonial america. it didn't happen in salem, but it was used in colonial america. but in america, something kind of interesting happened in this context, became almost exclusively racialized. i mentioned before in europe, this was not the case. right? this was not the case. you're getting people being burned at the stake for crimes like witchcraft. but and we'll be talking about that later when we talk about the history of religious wars. but in colonial america, it becomes this a method of a racialized punishment. in 1681, abbas in jury indicted a woman named maria of arson, and she was she was sentenced to be burned at the stake in public
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and in boston. in fact, this was such a spectacle that mather his father his father increased noted that maria was the first person executed this way in 1681. in fact, it was such a kind of horrific moment, right. this publicly burning someone at the stake that cotton mather wrote described her and in his book magnolia christie americana, as a picture of hell. and this a touch point. it becomes a way of of also increasing the horror. right. and forcing this system of of of enslavement that is so connected to warfare. right. this this this system started in light of these as a war tactic. all right. and also, now that you have this background, i want to tell you another, i started with a story about kind of how came to this
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is this being interested in this. and i want to tell you a story that takes place a long time before and the story of schenectady. so schenectady is a small in upstate new york and in the 17th century, though, the final of the 17th century, it was in the center of a real kind of contest of control and it was right in the middle of hood. shoni, remember we talked about territory and that kind of trade route into french canada. and this was something that the english at this point and the french were trying to make a claim on and so on, a cold and, very snowy day on sunday, february 9th, 1690, this borderland town of schenectady was attacked and it was attacked by a joint force of native and
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french fighters who were coming down from canada. now, by the end of the day, most of the inhabitants of schenectady were slaughtered 60. inhabitants lay dead an additional 27 people were taken into captivity, while only two of the people who had attacked lost their lives. so this was really a rout, right? this was a really dramatic and traumatic moment for the for community and it was one that really attacked and hurt the enslaved community in a in an outsized way. now as you probably know a little bit about the of slavery, as we've talked about in north, there weren't as many enslaved people as there were in the and caribbean colonies, but a proportion of the population, a much higher proportion of enslaved people were killed than than others. and this is.
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kind of the first salvo in a series of attacks. so we've got schenectady in in 1690 and then you get these attacks kind of spreading out into the heart of maine country from into maine. and then you go to and into all other sort of kind of towns and these refugees would be coming out of places like schenectady, like casco, and they were traumatized. right. these are people who had seen their family, you know, killed in the most brutal way, burned in front of them. and they were into places like salem village, right. coming into places like salem village with this experience of trauma. and one one historian, mary beth norton, argues that this experience trauma affected them. and in actually, if you look at the backgrounds of some of the salem accusers, they're coming from these towns and they're coming from this this atmosphere of violence. and so in this section, we're thinking about reading our
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documents, want to think about how do these moments of trauma. right, keep this in your mind. how do these moments of trauma affect the way that european colonists think about the people around them, that different. right. how does it change their perspective of differences? well, i wanted to you a little bit of example before. we think about this and work through our documents together of one such person who struggled with notion. and that is this man right here, the honorable judge samuel seaborne. i don't know how honorable he was. the most famous thing he's known for is being one of the witchcraft judges. right. samuel siebold was involved heavily in the crisis. one thing that is notable about him is that ultimately he is the only one who at the end says, wow, i really messed up like. i was totally wrong. and made a public, public
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apology in front of his congregation saying, look, mea culpa, you're right, we just killed a whole bunch of people for nothing. but he's important to the to the history of this moment. also, he's important the history of because samuel seebohm wrote what is considered to be one of the first anti-slavery tracks, the selling joseph which you had to read a portion today and we're going to be talking about on but seewald like many other people seen accounts of this moment and these accounts were a really not just in the north but you see some accounts going down as far as the caribbean of this description. description of the horror of schenectady and in some of the accounts, they're like, hey, look you know, we could have like attacked back if the the watchman hadn't been spied by some people because they were going out to look for runaways. so you can see that the presence slavery changed, the what was
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possible in terms of defense, at least in this rendering. it did. but you see this not just that kind of popular rendering, you also see it in samuel sewell's own kind of fears for his own communities. he writes about schenectady, he spends a lot of time in his diary, basically you know, in graphic detail talking about what happened to women and children. and then literally the next sentence he starts to think about his own community in barnstable. he's like, oh, you know, there was an attack close to where i live and. they couldn't find the bodies. and the fear is that they were murdered by a free -- and indians. and you can see here the juxtaposition of this, right? a fear of the other that is coming out of this moment of attack and, this is something i want to keep you, because when we're thinking about a lot of times we think about these coming fully formed people came and they had these ideas and certainly they inherited ideas of difference from their
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cultures and societies. but i really want to stress how were created right out of moment as well out of moments warfare and out of moments of violence and fear as well. okay. now, another thing that is often associated with new england, you probably know this is, the forest, right? the wilderness the northern woods. this this notion and comes out of poetry henry wadsworth longfellow's long form poem about evangeline starts with this is the forest primeval right this idea of the forest and of course if you had to read did when i was younger i don't know they make people read this the scarlet letter right. this evocation of the forest as being somewhere where the black who is of course an allegory to the devil. but we'll talk about kind of why the terminology is use was there to kind of come and and take
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people's spirits or souls. well i wanted to kind of draw attention to henry what longfellow ancestor and his diary and he remembers recalls just four years after the schenectady massacre that he's part of an force that from new england and is going to go to new york. and he's not alone. along with them are a few important people from from new england. a clue, including the people person we just met a few a slight samuel seebohm and they've decided to take this journey into a place that he records in his diary as a hideous, howling wilderness. and along the way he meets a person that he doesn't belongs there. he quote, met a -- coming from albany and quote and there they determined him to be a very suspicious right there in there
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in the forest there meeting this person that they don't think belongs there this accosted would say hey, look no no no no i'm not i'm actually supposed to be here. i'm you know, i'm a soldier from the fort at albany, but group was not going to be deterred. they were like, look, we decided we going to tie him up and. we were going to and make sure that he couldn't attack us. so they tie him up. and this person who already told them that he was a soldier from the fort was quite adept at getting out of their bonds and he was able to escape. and and they wake up in the morning and he's gone. and so like, oh, no, this person we've he's he's gotten out of our hands. so they continue their journey on. and you can see this in his diary, he says that we saw him no more, yet we thought of him. and later on he continues to kind of discuss this with other people. he meets in albany. and so i wanted to of end with
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this note right idea of this fear and how fear doesn't just affect in 1690. right? it starts to continue on and people are using their experiences of runaway of of of trying to get people who are trying to self emancipate in order to inform this notion of fear and in the of the other in a place that is unfamiliar. all right. well, i want to come back to samuel sea wall now. we're going to have a little bit of discussion for the document that we i had you i'll look at that. i'm also to project here today. well, after all of this happened a decade after schenectady, short decade after the salem witch trials, which, of course, happened after schenectady samuel, civil rights, the selling of joseph. and this, as i mentioned before, was one of the first anti-slavery tracts in the english colonies. now, here is what i had you all
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read for today's, and i'm going to read it here for you just to kind of get the feel of what it sounds like. and then i'm going to have you answer this question what early ideas about racial difference can you see this excerpt taken from? sowell's work, and he wrote the following and all things considered. it would be it would conduce more to the weare of the province thave white servants for a few of years than to have slaves for life. this is his main argument, right? we always say, look for the argument and. here is the reasons he gives for you can endure to hear of a -- being made free and they can seldom use their freedom. well. yet their continual aspiring, their forbidden liberty renders them servants. and there is such a disparity in their conditions, color and hair that they can never embody with us and grow up into orderly families to the peopling of the land but still remain in our body politic as a kind of extra vested. moreover, it is too well known. temptations masters are under to connive at the fornication their
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slaves, lest they should be obliged to find them wives or pay them. okay. so now as we've kind of thought about how people construct their arguments, i want you to use those resource sources that we use to look at historians and scholars, arguments to deconstruct what the wall is thinking about, arguing about, and the different types of ideas about racial that you can see in this excerpt. so i want to just kind of go around the room and see what's what, what, what you about what what is thinking? what are some things that jump out to you in terms of examples of racial difference that sowell is using to make his argument that, hey, look, we should have slavery here and the idea. yes. well, it's interesting that he just sees the culturally as completely like irreconcilable basically he's already accepted that of you know african people are too different from us to
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coexist. and so he advocates going back basically to indigenous servitude, which is interesting. yeah, yeah, it's really interesting because is, as you say, making a cultural argument. right. and this is an argument that obviously, you know, he has a lot of different reasons for it. but you're right his what he's advocating for going to is this earlier of indentured servitude servant servitude having white servants for a term of years which is an interesting perspective to think about when he's writing right at the turn of the 18th century. what many white servants for a term of years are in the place he's where he's writing from, boston any other thoughts about what ideas about racial difference can you see in this excerpt taken from see? well, what are the things that he considers be markers of difference in this expert. yes, such a disparity in their conditions, color and hair so
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it's like basically describing even dog like physical character certainly there i guess like my survey, he's white people as yeah this is actually shocking shocking point. i'm so glad you pointed it out the physical characteristics that he uses to kind of talk about difference. there's been a big argument in you know amongst scholars about this when did people start thinking skin color or physical characteristics made people because before what do we say it was you know that people thought was the most what was one of the determinants of difference to remember not physical conditions though he talk about conditions but it really was a religious right religious was the main show. in fact you see that in the laws of virginia right where there you know the the fact that people are non-christian is really important but you're starting to see the creep right into something that's kind of a more than what would consider to be kind of a more modern notion
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of difference, which resides in the body. right. this idea that that physical difference kind of that you can use science. right, to a certain extent or a physical manipulation the body in order to inherently determine difference. now, you won't be surprised know that people like see well he wasn't just judge, he was also a lay scientist. and so they were also kind of involved in kind of trying to think about these early, what is known as taxonomies of difference. anything else. people have thought about this. yes, i think it's interesting. like later on the sentence that he says the grow up into orderly families like he's he's going out their behavior and saying that they can't grow up and be orderly members of society. yeah i really like this point and i'm so glad you put it out because this notion of orderly families is absolutely crucial to sewell's argument. he is making an argument about how society is run and how it's
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continue, and it is in this notion of orderly, right. this idea families. and he's saying that they can't write their what would be the opposite. they'd have disorderly families, just like you said. i really like this, this, this, this, this point. what i would say is that i even though this is an anti-slavery tract, there is a lot of jokes of position within the document because says, okay, well, we're not fine. this type of slavery. however, there's still less than i. yes, i'm sure that's an important i like he said, we're not going to do this. but there's still less. i think that continued the perpetuation of it within society ominous attitudes that they believe that the white race was superior. so i think that is important. yeah, i think this is such a good point as well on this and i don't know if you can hear it, but i'm going to repeat it again. the point was that anti this might be an anti tract, right. but it's not. it's a equality tract. this is still something that would be predicated on the
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superiority of the just assumed superiority of as he and he's also one thing i think it's interesting to point out is he's saying white servants and he's not saying english servants. right. he's making a racial or racial argument here. and i think this is a really important point that this is central his argument. he's saying, look, we shouldn't have slavery, but not because slavery makes humans unequal, but rather that it could destroy our community, by bringing in undesirable people who are less than. does that make sense? and i think it's such a good point. i'm so glad to raised it. i think i saw one hand on. all right, well, let's think about what our what would happen after right. we're here at the beginning of the 18th century. right. you're starting to see samuel seba, who's coming out of this history of fear coming out of this warfare. he had been involved in the transatlantic slave trade. now, him writing tract was very, very controversial in fact, he
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didn't publish it in his regular publisher because he was a guy who likes publish things. he actually distributed it, you know, secretly, not secretly, but privately among some like minded friends. so his ideas well, you know, they weren't kind of found on the notions of equality. they still were very, very controversial. so so that he was actually dating a woman. he had he was an older man. his in his his wife had died. and he was on on the dating scene again. and she found out that he held these ideas and she dumped him. so this this was you know this was controversial. what he's saying and seymour because he just he just he had to be in the mix he became involved in something else that was happening at this time as well and this this is a case an early case surrounding an enslaved man named adam.
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now, adam was a man who was enslaved by a another judge jurist, a man who's actually also known as one of the earliest examples of american poetry and adam was promised by a judge. judge stafford, that if you on sefton's farm in bristol. in 1694, if you toiled for a few then saffron, would you eventually give him this freedom? and so he's like, sir, go out. i'm working. and so kept waiting. he kept waiting. he kept waiting in sevens, like not giving him his freedom. so adam's like, well, we this agreement, so bye. so he decides to self emancipate. he brought the documents in always keep the receipts he brought documentation where stafford had prime us and he sued devon for his freedom. he's like, i've done the time
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now give me my freedom now. adam ultimately did his freedom, but the case was really hard fought, so adam's case was heard several times first before law. samuel. samuel, then subsequently in a court that included stafford. this judge. so you're kind of seeing there might have been a little bit of a conflict of interest there and saffron jurist was able to kind of jury so he kind of got a jury that was a little bit more favorable to him. but seymour was convinced by adam's adam evidence. he's like, look, you know, you had this agreement with this guy and you have to stand by your agreement. and this was right around the time he published this work that antislavery. but the proceedings actually continued on for for many many years until 1703. the superior court in
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massachusetts ruled in adam's favor. but saffron was not happy. saffron was really, really angry. and so being gifted with words, he decided publish the following diatribe against civil in verse and i'm going to read it cowardly and cruel are those in prone to revenge and of inveterate hate? he that exposed them soon as he that exasperates them soon despise mischief and in their eyes the bitterness deceitful, false and rude the spewing issue of ingratitude the premises considered all tell how near good joseph they are parallel so one that i think is interesting and this is something that other historians have looked at historian for an entire jordan points to saffron answer is kind of the first kind of pro-slavery you start to see this in the 19th century in the wake of the sectional crisis as we go closer
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people are starting to kind of make kind of arguments why slavery is a thing. but people have argued dr. jordan has argued that this is actually the first articulation of that. but one thing i wanted to know and the reason i read it out to you, even though it was kind not the nicest a person could say is to show how similar the two men think about the problem right. they're on opposite sides of the argument, but they are kind of in agreement in terms of difference based kind of racial characteristics. does that sense. all right. now, i want to talk a little bit about this whole kind of what it look like in the 18th century. right. we've from the 17th century, where we've got in this very unexpected in the north. how do we get there? we talked the consideration of indigenous warfare, how indigenous peoples were being traded for african peoples, and
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then how this is also in an environment of continual warfare and how these notions are being braided in to this borderland violence. but by the time of the 18th century, you're starting to see this conditions change a bit and enslaved people are being concentrated among the wealthy families in new england. and, you know, these are names that you might have heard of, right? we talked about zero, but the mather. right. the winthrop's. i show this picture, this john winthrop, he's talked about before. if you remember the sermon the city on a hill. right. he's from from him and wilder, if you've ever read what ralph waldo emerson, a slave merchant on a on a large scale. so by the time the 18th century, these people whose descendant, everybody whose ancestors were involved in thinking this up,
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they're already of in the swing of things. right. these are two people who are involved and embedded in the slave trade. in fact, ralph emerson, ancestor cornelius cornelius waldo had a slave ship that he named africa that plied the middle packed with 200 african people. the time and this you're using this tight packing method you probably seen pictures of the slave ships that where it became kind of prevalent during the mid 18th century of kind of bodies people packed in those ships that is the kind of method that was. and in fact, some historians have argued that northern slave traders actually this packing method because it would lower costs. so the more people you can get into the boat though it's much more deadly for the human beings then the more quote unquote profit can be made on the market even more kind dreadful about this is they were preferring
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younger captive people from from the caribbean. they're looking for people who are young because of the of the mortality in this i also want to show you the population here in 1676 i we started at the beginning of this period you get less than 200 people who are enslaved by the 18th century you have 550 people enslaved. and by 17, 15, of course right around sicily's life, you have to thousand people enslaved. now, these are a growth numbers. but if you remember, i looked at the population number four for virginia. this is not you know, it doesn't compare in terms of numbers, but in terms of percentage of the population we have to look at where they're concentrated all these people basically are serving the wealthiest families. so they're concentrated in places like boston around the educational centers right by now, harvard college was
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established in the in the colonies. so you've got people at the college and even though massachusetts has this puritan reputation. right. it wasn't you talked about that many new england enslavers. we're not interested in baptizing their enslaved people. they were really reluctant to do so and can anyone think of the reason they would be reluctant do this? yeah. religious arguments. yeah, right. there was still debate and worry that having a christian person and then keeping them enslaved in was wrong, morally wrong, right. this people start kind of engage with these arguments and say, well, no, you can have a christian slave. and in fact, one of those people was cotton mather. remember, we encountered him and we will encounter him again. we talk about the witch trials earlier when he's saying, ha,
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those jamaicans got what they deserved. right. you know the the the the the port royal earthquake was god's judgment. well, he decided to wade into foray of talking about anti-slavery as well and in 1706 he publishes his tract the -- christianize which included a catechism for slave conversion. he was like no, no, no. there's no problem if we just basically people then it's going be all right. in fact, six months after publishing this track, the -- christianized, he was given a on ten man who hailed from africa as gold coast. he was literally given this as a gift by his congregants right? so they're like, what is pastor need? what do you get the pastor that has everything i know and then slave person. so they bring him they present him this man and he puts upon him. it's literally in his diary like this. he puts him the name of a minister. ms. . now, i don't know how kind of how much people might know about
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the history, the biblical history of this name, but does anyone have an idea of why mather might have chosen the name on this? to give to this person who'd been presented to him as a gift? i said, well, i'll tell in the book of lehman there was an enslaved man named eunice smith who had run away from his master, the apostle paul, in the book actually admonishes, no, i'm in this mess to return his master because they're both christians and they and honest nystagmus has been called to remain in service to his master. so this is why he matters. like, look, this guy is going to basically be a case study, right? for my brand of of slave holding. and this is when we get back to talking about the history of disease, he actually becomes crucial to some of cotton late experiments around vaccination.
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actually he smallpox epidemics hits the area and honest the myths gives some gives cotton mather and other enslaved people in that area some ideas of how this was in africa and of course it's a it was a proto type of inoculate asian people were so mad about this inoculation they thought that enslaved people were telling him this he was getting it from faulty. i faulty people and that these could kill them. they were so mad and so furious that cotton mather and his friend abdal boylston were doing this that. they actually firebombed his house, they literally threw cocktails into his house. i don't know if they were called that then, but that's happened. so this is something thinking about how this all intertwines. it's something i like to do and something i'm going to be doing together. but enslaved people get baptized. they did get married in this
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context and many of them use this as a moment to kind of their humanity like it for. example historian gloria whiting talks about a case where an enslaved man, a father and usually fathers weren't recognized officially in the record, he made sure to come to his child's christening and hold up the child in front of the congregation in order to basically show how his relationship to, this child and these enslaved people, as i said, were in places where the wealthiest people congregated, including harvard college at this point, it wasn't necessarily harvard university, but also this became part of the of these universities. in fact, another historian named craig wilder, his book, ebony and ivory slave re and the troubled history of american university, talks about how this connection between people and the founding of the universities were were combined. for example, the bowdoin prize,
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which is a really prestigious fellowship given that harvard, as well as maine's bowdoin college, is actually named after governor bowdoin, who purchased enslaved people. he was heavily involved in this trade and in fact, during the mid 17th century to, thomas hubbard, who is the treasurer of harvard, was involved in the slave trade. so now when you think about kind of day discussions of, slavery in university, we have our own here at south carolina. this is all kind of going back to this historical moment, right, of do people engage and create the of situations we're going to talk about the chairs of many colleges and universities like yale, rutgers, columbia university were actually established when we establish a chair, if you're a professor and you have a shared professorship, that means that some donor has invested your this with money.
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and the first and the earliest chairs were invested by proceeds. slave slaving voyages. this is where we get this community and connection but now i've talked a lot about kind of what people at the top were doing how they were determining people's but i want to talk a little bit now about what the people who were enslaved were doing and how they reacted and resisted to this. now, which is another topic we'll be talking about today among enslaved people in this took many forms. one you get some enslaved people presenting themselves as unfit workers. right. one woman enslaved to a boston woman named vetch actually was touted negotiating at her sale. her her enslaver was like, hey, i need to to to sell this person. she's great. she's going to be for you and the woman, of course, because she's a person and she can talk was like, how be terrible i'm always sick. you don't want me oh, that's too high a price.
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so is the kind of thing that enslaved people would do in order to kind of counter and assert certain amount of autonomy. now you do see some. physically resisting, right attack being arson was something that was used across new england and across really the atlantic world and fact in september of 1745, a news story filtered in and and out in the newspapers at the time of of a of a woman who was killed by a blow to the with a hatchet by the man she enslaved. so this was a very dangerous endeavor indeed. some people, you know, they left, right. they they they they they they fled sometimes were going to places. right? sometimes they were looking for permanent permanent emancipation in sometimes with indigenous people or sometimes going to french canada, now french canada was certainly a very tricky
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proposition. and why would they think they could go to french canada? ideas what could they that the canadians could possibly ever want? i think i heard something and the ideas what might these enslaved peoples have to trade in french canada but the canadians might want. yes, information. information, right. you are there at the highest levels of, you know, the governmental and political rulers of the english colonies. and, you know what they are planning. this was such a fear that in new york, in upstate, new, an enslaved man named robert livingston. it was also part of the legislature actually helped to pass a law that prescribed death to any enslaved person who'd run away, who was found 40 miles north of because they knew that that's where they were going. and in fact, his enslaved people did. then later escape and they made it all the way to france,
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canada. they took refuge with the governor of montreal. and, you know, they were passing information. this is what enslaved people had. they had information. this becomes very important. we think about the run up to the american revolution and how enslaved people, part of the espionage network that is established in the colonies. so we're going to be thinking about that as well. now, other enslaved people really thinking about leaving forever. we actually think that people are going to run to freedom. and freedom is a place right where people can never get to back into slavery. but most enslaved peoples, many enslaved peoples, in fact, we're just trying get some time off. right. it'll be trying to go back to their families or they'd be hiding out with local free black family just for a little bit. so they could just get some time off and others did want a more permanent solution and. they were going to life aboard merchant ships. we talked about enslaved people involved who were involved in pirate ships, but many enslaved people had nautical knowledge and would use these ships.
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and the fact that they were for a long time in order to be ports of freedom. i wanted to kind of think about when we look at this last document, we're going to take some time at the end here of, our discussion, to look talk about this runaway slave ad. but before we want to do that, i want to introduce you to the notion of what you can learn from these runaway that. now, we talked a little bit about them before this week. i had you some readings that talks about them a little bit more. and i wanted to take you through the history of, how we get there in order to talk a little bit about this. so samuel was ministerial a man named william? well, did was a slave owning friend and. he appeared frequently in this and in this correspondence on april 13th, 1747, samuel said posted a slave advertisement in a newspaper. now, this is a way that people in the community would be put on
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alert to look these enslaved people. and if you see them, then send them and you see for all sorts of things. there was that i found that was so funny. this person had run away and the slave advertisement said, i know that this person is teaching your children music, but don't harbor the harbor him because i need him back. so enslaved people were using their skills in to negotiate their the terms of their lives. and this this advertised meant by reverend wells said that was posted on the boston evening post said the following i'm going to read it for you. and then going to read through it and then i will have you all do the same thing with advertisement i've given you to here in class. and he says the following a -- fellow named moses, 24 years of age, servant to the reverend mr. wells said, left his master's last friday evening. so it hasn't been that long, right? look at the timing there.
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and it's supposed to be conceal blood on board some vessel he had on a coat and a leather jockey cap, but is suspected to have furnished himself with seaman's clothes. all masters of vessels and others cautioned against carrying him off. and if any person will give information, he may be found, they shall receive £5 old tenner reward. i want to point some things out and how to read these types of advertisements. one thing i think that's interesting is reverend the good reverend wells said talks about a -- fellow named moses was only seen sound peculiar about this. what would what is his name. tell you a little bit about the circumstances of his enslavement and also something that be a little ironic in, the reverend's choice of his name. let others to freedom. right. okay. so he's a he's invoking this biblical character moses who
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literally a slave, who then led others to freedom. right. so obviously the reverend must have. well, this will be an interesting and ironic to name this person. i wonder when he posted this advertisement, whether the he thought the irony was on him when he like pharaoh of old, was also pursuing moses to the water's edge. so this kind of acknowledgment, thinking about the ways that you can use these advertisements are something else. now, the other thing i wanted to talk about is the things that he's wearing. so want to say that again, he had on blue coat, a leather jockey cap and siemens, but i suspect it is to furnish him seaman's clothes. what can you learn? what do you think you can learn from looking at things that he's wearing? he had on a blue coat, a jockey cap, but is suspected to have furnished himself with seaman's clothes. yes, i think we talked about earlier in the course, how it
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was odd for blue or blue was like a very uncommon color of, like a wealthier color. yeah. and with the leather, i mean, he was trying to position himself as a more skilled labor. yeah. let's put on a different appearance. yeah yes, he's trying to, because lot of times we see enslaved people. they'll talk about austin briggs. so they'll be certain types of fabric, enslaved people's use. and so yeah, you start to see him kind of putting on a clothing that that that really denotes wealth. right. and to a certain extent, a kind of a wealthier person. and it could just be that this man was kind of like was was his valet was doing something like that. but yeah, you're absolutely right. but notice that else that he's going to furnish himself with seaman's clothes. it sounds like he's trying to get on a boat. yes. right. not only are they going to get on the boat but somehow he's ready with the costume. where did he get these seaman's clothes? how is he able to get them? you're absolutely right on the fact that he's not just the
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skills, but he's also dressed to kill. right. he's got the he's got the the the costume. now with the end of class in the last few minutes here, we might have a little bit of time to look at this final. now that i've done it with and the reverend mr. well said who was looking also for his moses and following him to the to the to the to the water's edge. i want you to do the same thing, and i want you to look at this advertisement that i gave you and i want you to first identify and name the deeds hell's about --. who is the person who is in the advertisement that robert grace enslaver includes pay specific no focus to the cape of skills that -- is said to possess and why that would be important. why wouldn't why would help somebody running away to have this skills and then find finally why would he mention the skills? right. why would robert grace he's
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looking for this enslaved man mention the skills that he mentions in the advertisement. so first, because we don't have the text to the advertisement, you have it before you tell us a few of the details that robert grace includes about -- in the advertisement. what are some the and you can just read it out if you feel comfortable. yes. you out on a brown coat lined green a shirt and shoes and stockings. it's kind of like what we saw last time. he has this nicer clothing on and he's trying to disguise himself as like a higher member of society. yeah so he's got he's got this very deep held description of his fashion choices of what he's wearing. this is something you see a lot in runaway slave advertisements. this detailed description of the clothing that they're wearing. why do you think there is that? we're going to have that second of those embraces, what you mentioned before, that's kind of like that really rough hewn for
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every. exactly. and that fabric. oftentimes it would be a signal like if you saw someone walking around the street and they were wearing that fabric that showed the class were in and it showed that they were likely an enslaved person. so you do see a lot of enslaved people sometimes putting on layers or having a change of clothes or stealing right there, enslavers clothes because they're expensive. and what can you do with. clothes if you if you have a whole bunch of clothes on, you can sell right there. you see them using their clothing order to continue kind of life on the run. all right. what are some skills that -- possess? are some skills that he possesses. i. i. in the text of the advertisement, he skills. yeah. the only thing really noticed was the phrase preaching. yeah. so i'm imagining that he's at
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least well at speaking, but probably literate too. yes, right. this is a preacher. this is very, very kind of this is a character mystic that robert great that was rare enough he was like this man you find, him, this is what he'll be doing. he likely had illiterate literacy skills, right. he might even been able to write, though he doesn't talk about that. but this man is using his religious ability, right. as or at least robert grace, he might use it in order to continue to run away. now, i have this question that that's a follow up question here. why would why would you even mention why would why would that be something he's money, right? if you put an advertisement in a newspaper, you know, it's a spread. you see what it like he's paid money for the printer to do this and he has a certain amount of space. why is he putting that he's preaching? like, why is he taking i mean, not even just the words are
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slanted, right? this something that he wants people to see. why does he buy why would you do that? why does he spend money on that? why did he think that would help him? yeah, as you mentioned earlier, you might be looking for work in that area. so it's an easier way to identify him. yeah, right you know, it can help to identify the people who might be thinking about, oh, i saw this guy and was like, you're saying if he's looking for work or if he's in an area that people who see this would be like, oh, i remember a guy like that. i'm like, he might be a great speaker. yeah. so i think people would recognize that, oh, like he speaks like better than the other slaves. so might be a person. yeah. i mean, this is a really important point and i'm going to say it again, the idea that he might be a better speaker, he might have, you know, the gift of gab to a certain extent. and that would say no signal him as different. you do see this in other advertisements where you see enslaved people who have some sort of you know, they focus on the type of voice they have, whether it's, you know, they
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speak with an accent or they are shy in some they will talk about this. i think i saw another hint. yes. by mentioning the enslaved person had it kind of shows the people of the town that the owner really values them and like wants them back. so that might be a bigger and center for the people in the town to return them because they know the owner will like pay up and might actually want the enslaved person back. yes, this is really a very good point. i want to point this out again that this shows the skills. so this is a skilled person that is a value, right. and that this might also show that this that that the enslaved might want the person back right. it's also if the person comes act. it doesn't necessarily mean that the person the enslaver would keep them but they're money, right? they know that if they've decided to then sell the person they say well this person's not bad already told the community
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that this person is a valuable person you know so it is kind of doing double double duty. well okay so i wanted to thank you all for taking the time to look through these documents. we've kind of gone from the beginning where have a much more ad hoc moment of enslavement to the codification of the laws and then finally to looking at how it gets into popular culture, right? how it gets into the early newspaper culture. but now i wanted to leave a little bit of time for the question and answer in an open it up a little bit more to anything that you wanted to ask about this topic. yes why do you think that northern slavery is kind of brushed over and not as talked about? i love this question is why, do you think northern slavery is kind of brushed over and not talked about? well, i think that narratives are powerful, right?
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narratives are powerful. and it's something that people have always known, probably since the dawn of time, but certainly since first kind of this first era that we're talking about. and this became the main kind of discussion right right around the debates about about as the sexual crisis started to come up. so obviously, everyone that before the american revolution, obviously they knew that the northern colonies had slaves because they still did. they didn't start emancipating people until in a large way, until after the american revolution with massachusetts and then ultimately later on with delaware being the last right in 1860. but there became kind of a narrative that, you know, the southern colonies, right? the southern states at that point where the place of slavery and this narrative was about, you know the sexual divide and keeping right the balance between slave and free.
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so you have slave states coming in and then you have a free state coming in. you know that whole territory dispute it started to become kind of shorthand to be like the north is too free for slavery right and this actually harkens back to other discussions where there was even discussions that england itself was too. you know, of course this is an opening to to to to actually a fissure that that enslaved people during the time of the case used right. in order to get freedom and we're going to get there. i promise you but but to your actual point. yeah i think that this was a narrative that started up in the 19th century in order to kind of basically make this for a free north. but notice we about samuel siegel's argument right? his freedom wasn't about the north is to equal we can't have slavery because have to all be equal. no, no, no, no, no. his freedom was about we need to get rid of these different and then have a society that is more
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and of that that is only white right this idea of kind of making a place for segregation really rather than right predicating it on any type of. any type of integration our community. any other questions? yes. can you elaborate more on why kind of what you're about earlier about how fears of the time of intersected with the mass hysteria that led to the witch trials and the general paranoia of. yeah you know it's interesting because this is not something that people think about being part of the narrative. i mean people think about obviously the kind of fear of women. the fear of kind of this magic and what this comes through. but at the beginning of the witch trials and we're going to talk a little bit more about the witch trials in a few weeks, if it. well before i tell the story. does anyone know kind of what's what what event supposedly
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kicked off the hysteria around witchcraft. anyone know anything from kind of like if you've ever watched the crucible or anything like that was it the enslaved person? tabitha yes, exactly tituba who was the enslaved? a day that was very close. tituba was this who was enslaved? the reverend samuel parris was the first person who had she had, according the to the accounts, had basically induced the girls to do these kinds of rituals that weren't fully puritan. right. and so for a long time, people thought our tituba was associated with this barbadian. when we're talking about this, this woman that, samuel parris, had brought back from barbados as an african woman who did this. well, we know that that is not the case, because the actual text of the says tituba was an
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indigenous woman and she was even married to a man who was known as who literally has indian in his name. i think his name was john indian. and so they were both indigenous people. and that brings us to this kind of the combining of this. there were people of african descent who were pulled into the salem trials. so, yes, not only is it part of the narrative they were brought before the community, mary black brought before the community, and that's been bound up in these these trials. interestingly enough, though they were not put to death. fact tituba basically was like, yeah, i'm a witch. they threw her in prison. then she survived the trials. and that is actually a way that some people did survive the trials by just admitting right, sir, you're right. and you know, don't tell me type of thing. and then they survived. but yeah, i think that in thinking about how this is a deeper history that's not i mean, it is, of course, about gendered violence.
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it's paranoia, fear but also about the types of the types of things that people start to think about each and how people were othering is so, so crucial. i hope that that elaborated enough. um, any other questions? yes. mean like see you all like you mentioned earlier about ordered families. would this be like the time that like the american nuclear family or like start like the idea of like starting springing and like just comparing it to like, i guess like african societies and how they were necessarily would it be, i guess like the same as like the american nuclear family. yeah, i really like this question. i'm going to repeat it. the idea that with sybil talking families, was this the time of kind of the notion of the american nuclear family coming up? and also that that in contrast to african societies and how there was a kind of a different idea family structure and that maybe is what he's talking about in terms of them is that that
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kind of the gist of what you're you're asking? well, yes, yes and no. so seawalls coming from this kind of earlier notion of the family being the basis for society. we talked a little bit about this earlier. we're going to get to that even more right the top of the the kind of societal is the father or the king. right. and then you are all his children or subjects. right. and so the family was really crucial to understanding society the time, even more crucial, crucial than the way the family comes into kind of the idea of the nuclear family. this is like society writ small, right? the father, the king and everyone else was their subjects. even servants were considered part of the family. sometimes he support the kitchen family in a kind of a associative way, kind of formal way. so this is what he was talking, right? that the family, the society as family, he's saying they can't
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kind of get these other people who are so different being put in. i think it's it's an interesting point that also to juxtapose from how he might be a little nervous about how different culturally than different notions of family would be and what that might do to the society. i think that's a great great and maybe you can choose that for to explore that in the final paper. i think it's really, really interesting. yes article and samuel maverick was interesting actually. and the amount of speculative history that had to be done about it because it was one little source and then she had to use contextual sources to sort of piece together a story. why do you think that there are zero personal papers that are survived? do you think it's a case where they're maybe being held to by a family or ended up in some box lost there? but she was like, there are no firsthand sources. this family, even though they were wealthy, large plantation owning family. yeah. so this is a question about the
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the the that we looked at that was a sign for today the cause of her grief the rape of a woman by by wendy warren and the in the article the the there is these papers and she talks about there's no real papers that really attest to what happens during this case that she's kind of painstakingly reconsider it out of silences out of fragments and how to do that. so the first kind of point was about the speculative of that and the reason that we don't have documents. i would like to bring again the salem witch trials as example. all right. so many of the documents that we have were donated by families. right. and i went to the massachusetts historical society and they gave me a story about how literally members of some of the families were involved in the witch trials. later generations like in 19th century, they were so ashamed of their family being associated with that they would come and they would sit by big roaring fireplace and they would go through the papers that look bad and they would throw in, throw
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them in. so there was there's some willful destruction in construction of family here. people don't want to be known as, you know, the people who killed a bunch of innocent people. right. but at the same time, the survival of papers can be difficult as well. just from the passage time, but also what people think is important. right. people might not have thought this is really that important. a paper to to remember i do a lot of work in the livingston family papers, which are huge. right. they really are enormous. but but you see lot of survival of their count books and sometimes they'll have some correspondences and then they'll just disappear like, i want to know what happened. but of course they weren't interested in what happened. they were interested in keeping the count books, right? they don't they didn't care. you wanted to know what was going on this in that person's life, right so it's all about like what people thought was important to save as well. i don't think some of it is time. right? just the passage of time we have
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been losing a lot of documents from the elements. one of the main repositories, i went to the new york state archives, had a fire in 1911 that burned the majority of the collections. and in fact, the van rensselaer family who had given who had kept their papers for two centuries. and we're like you know maybe the archives, the library would be a safer place like it was like a week before or very soon before they were like here take care of our papers. and then the archive for now. right. and the papers survived because they were protected by english document papers, but they burned terribly. so i think know we had to take all of that into account in terms how we get these papers. any other questions? i see another hemingway successful. do you think these ads at capturing the slaves, like the runaway slaves. i because they sound kind of convinced. i mean that doesn't sound like that. but they're so descriptive.
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the slaves. i feel like it would be pretty success for her. how successful were these ads is the question of for in terms of tracking people down? i the only way you can find out is generally of trying to follow the trail and see what to people in the end. and i've done for a few there was one really interesting ad of two men who ran away together. one deserted. after i it was king william's war up in maine, and he deserted with an enslaved man. and they both ran together. and they were they were actually caught in charleston, south carolina. okay. this is i've driven to new england recently, and the drive itself is an epic. so imagining these two people in the 17th century as their 18th century running together, really compelling. but yeah, they were caught again. and you do sometimes see them people taking out ad saying, yeah, i caught this this person and that also shows the reach of these papers right there actually you'll see also they'll
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run ads several times so and sometimes i felt ads that it's been years. then they're like still looking, still looking. so they were fairly successful was big business, you see like benjamin franklin later on, who was also a boston native, though he was publishing in philadelphia you see them making a lot of money. this is the way they make their write advertisements. and obviously this the only advertisements in the newspapers but they're they're pretty effective people are willing to shell out the bucks to go to to to put them in their. any other questions. yeah. think enslaved people converted about the relationship between like their religiosity and their status. yeah. this is a really, really question. the question is how do enslaved who converted to christianity feel about the relationship between their christian, you know, identity and their status as enslaved? we don't have many documents written firsthand by enslaved people, but we do have some. in fact, one of the earliest poets in the american american
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canon were actually two people. one was a woman named phillis wheatley, who was enslaved in boston, and another was a man named jupiter hammon, who was enslaved on long island. and people have read their poems and some were disturbed by them saying, well, just glad that that i had the opportunity to learn about christ and be christian. but other people have read their poems and they're actually they'll say and then on the next line they'll say but can you believe the people you know, who would be willing to do this? so i think was a little bit of kind of signifying going on, right? this idea of using the language of in order to protest the continued enslavement. and so that's the only way we would kind get to know. but you do see people like preaching -- and other people, their using that ability in order to get to freedom. so i do think there was and also you see it in court cases where enslaved people are look, you
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know, we're going to use this as a basis for freedom as well and equality not just, you know, not just to be freed from slavery. all right. let me look at where we're getting close to the end. i think you all so much for your for your attention and for coming today. and if you have any other questions, course you can always ask me and i'll see you all soon. and if anyone needs to sign in, i have the sign in sheet as well that i can kind of start over here. does anyone need to sign? all right, we've got a few. i'm going to go around this way so i don't get the glare in
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