Colonial Bostonians practiced slavery. But slavery in Boston looked very different than slavery in the American south or in the Caribbean.
Today, Jared Hardesty, an Assistant Professor of History at Western Washington University and author of Unfreedom: Slavery and Dependence in Eighteenth-Century Boston, takes us on a tour of slavery, and the lives enslaved people lived, in colonial Boston.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
In this episode, Jared Hardesty, an Assistant Professor of History at Western Washington University and author of Unfreedom: Slavery and Dependence in Eighteenth-Century Boston, takes us on a tour of slavery in colonial Boston.
During our exploration, Jared reveals details about colonial Boston and how its people justified slavery; Origins of Boston slaves and where Bostonians purchased them; And, what life was like for enslaved men and women in colonial Boston.
What You’ll Discover
- Details about colonial Boston
- Colonial New England’s labor shortage
- Origins of Boston slaves and their cost
- Where Bostonians purchased slaves
- Statistics for Boston slaveholders
- Living conditions for slaves in Boston
- Jobs performed by Boston slaves
- Boston slaves’ diet
- Boston slaves’ social and family lives
- Negro Election Day
- Boston’s place in the Atlantic Slave Trade
- How Boston slaves used religion to form communities
- Boston slave literacy rate
- How Boston slaves used their literacy to petition for freedom
- The colonial American continuum of unfreedom
- Whether Boston slaves rebelled for freedom
- What happened to Boston slaves if they gained freedom
- The sources Jared used to get at the lived experiences of enslaved life in Boston
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Jared Hardesty
- Jared’s Western Washington University webpage
- Jared’s Twitter: @drhardesty
- Unfreedom: Slavery and Dependence in Eighteenth-Century Boston
- Royall House Museum
- Episode 70: Jennifer Morgan, How Historians Research
- African American Intellectual History Society Blog
In your opinion what might have happened if slaves had mounted a rebellion in Boston like the slaves of South Carolina did in the 1739 Stono Rebellion. Would such a rebellion have changed the nature of slavery in Boston? If so, how?
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