Unless otherwise noted, all lectures and book talks are held in the Slave Quarters located at 15 George Street in Medford, Massachusetts. Visit our Directions and Map page for more information.
Growing Up with the Country: Family, Race, and Nation after the Civil War: with Historian Kendra Taira Field
Wednesday, January 17, 2018 -7:30 p.m.
Following the lead of her own ancestors, historian Kendra Taira Field’s epic family history chronicles the westward migration of freedom’s first generation in the fifty years after emancipation. Drawing on decades of archival research and family lore within and beyond the United States, Field details lives and choices that deepen and widen the roots of the Great Migration, exploring how ideas about race and color powerfully shaped the pursuit of freedom.
Harriet Tubman: Bound for the Promised Land, with Historian Kate Clifford Larson
Wednesday, March 21, 2018 -7:30 p.m.
Harriet Tubman is one of the giants of American history—a fearless visionary who led scores of other enslaved people to freedom and battled courageously behind enemy lines during the Civil War. Since writing the first adult biography of Tubman, adding depth and nuance to the story every schoolchild knows, historian Kate Clifford Larson has consulted with numerous public history initiatives related to Harriet Tubman’s life and her role in the Underground Railroad.
Portraying Canadian Slavery, with Art Historian Charmaine Nelson
Wednesday, April 18, 2018 – 7:30 p.m.
Art historian Charmaine Nelson expands the traditional slave-trade triangle to include Canada. Mining an array of sources—including maps, artwork, and the Canadian fugitive slave archive—her goal is to re-humanize people who were dehumanized. “Even in the stories of how they escaped, sometimes slave owners would inadvertently disclose how intelligent the escapees were, and how much forethought and planning went into escaping,” Nelson says.
“In Honor of the Enslaved Whose Labor Created Wealth That Made Possible the Founding of Harvard Law School”
Harvard Law School was founded in 1817 through a bequest from Isaac Royall Jr., whose family’s significant wealth was largely derived from the labor of enslaved people on Antiguan sugar plantations. We were honored to be present at the unveiling of this memorial “In honor of the enslaved whose labor created wealth that made possible the founding of Harvard Law School.”
Royall Professor of Law Janet Halley “read aloud the known names of enslaved men, women, and children of the Royall household from records that have survived. She noted that many of the names—just first names, with no last names—were probably not the original names that had been given to these individuals at birth.
“‘These names then are the tattered ruined remains, the accidents of recording, and the encrustation of a system that sought to convert human beings into property,’ Halley said. ‘But they’re our tattered ruined remains, and I thought I would devote my remarks to reading them out.'”