Juneteenth is a holiday that celebrates and commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. We choose to reflect on the end of slavery in the United States on June 19 because, on June 19, 1865, United States General Gordon Granger issued his General Order No. 3 in Galveston, Texas, informing Texans that all slaves were free.
Juneteenth may feel like it is a mid-19th-century moment, but the end of slavery didn’t just occur on one day or at one time. And it didn’t just occur in the mid-19th century. The fight to end slavery was a long process that started during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Kyera Singleton, the Executive Director of the Royall House and Slave Quarters in Medford, Massachusetts, has spent years researching the lives of the enslaved people who lived and worked on the Royall Plantation and the significant contributions they made to ending slavery in Massachusetts. Kyera joins us to investigate the story of slavery and freedom within the first state in the United States to legally abolish slavery.
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.
Ben Franklin’s World is a production of Colonial Williamsburg Innovation Studios.
Kyera Singleton is the Executive Director of the Royall House and Slave Quarters in Medford, Massachusetts. She’s also a historian who is finishing her doctoral degree in American Culture at the University of Michigan. Kyera and her colleagues have spent years researching the lives of the enslaved people who lived and worked on the Royall Plantation, and the significant contributions they made to ending slavery in Massachusetts, which was the first state in the United States to legally abolish slavery in 1783.
During our investigation, Kyera reveals the story of the Royall House and Slave Quarters and why this is a unique historic site; Details about the Royall Plantation and how it operated; And, what we know about the enslaved people who lived and worked on the Royall Plantation and the important roles they played in creating and seeking freedom in Revolutionary Massachusetts.
What You’ll Discover
- The Royall House and Slave Quarters
- The ability of the Royall House and Slave Quarters to tell an international story of slavery
- Story of the Royall Family and its fortune
- How the Royall House came to have free standing slave quarters
- The Royall Family and its Medford, Massachusetts Plantation
- Function of the Royall Plantation
- The work enslaved people did to sustain the Royall Plantation
- Details about Plato
- Information about siblings Abba and Cuba
- Historical records and evidence that tells us what we know about the enslaved people who lived and worked the Royall Plantation
- Information about Fortune
- Life and relationships on the Royall Plantation
- The American Revolution and the Royalls’ Loyalist politics
- What happens to the enslaved people after the Royall Family leaves Massachusetts
- Belinda Sutton and her petitions to the Massachusetts General Court
- Freedom Suits
- Abolitionist and anti-slavery in the late eighteenth century
- The abolishment of slavery in Massachusetts
- Opportunities in freedom for the formerly enslaved
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Royall House and Slave Quarters
- @KyeraChristine on Twitter
- @RoyallHouse on Twitter
- @RoyalHouse1737 on Instagram
- Jared Hardesty, Unfreedom: Slavery and Dependence in Eighteenth-Century Boston
- Andrea Mosterman, Spaces of Enslavement: A History of Slavery and Resistance in Dutch New York
- Nicole Maskiell, Bound by Bondage: Slavery and the Creation of a Northern Gentry
- Prince Hall Lodge of Masons
- African Americans and the End of Slavery in Massachusetts Exhibit at Mass Historical
- Gloria Whiting
- Edward L. Bell
- General Granger’s General Order No. 3
- Fanueil Hall
- Harvard and Slavery Report
- Medford Cemetery
- Longfellow House-Washington Headquarters National Historic Site
- Shirley-Eustis Estate
- Episode 083: Jared Hardesty, Unfreedom: Slavery in Colonial Boston
- Episode 170: Wendy Warren, New England Bound: Slavery in Early New England
- Episode 194: Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters, NHS
- Episode 220: Margaret Newell, New England Indians, Colonists, and the Origins of Slavery
- Episode 304: Annette Gordon-Reed: On Juneteenth
- Episode 324: Andrea Mosterman, New Netherland and Slavery
- Episode 329: Mark Tabbert, Freemasonry in Early America
- Episode 351: Nicole Maskiell, Wealth and Slavery in New Netherland
In your opinion, how might our understanding of slavery and enslavement in the Northern colonies be different if there were more historic sites that had external slave quarters that had survived?
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