Researching the Early History of Black Lives in the Connecticut River Valley
Two tabs in this guide contain bibliographies. Here, in "Further Reading," you will find citations to literature about African American history across the state and region (another tab, "Getting Started," gathers books and articles specifically on the Massachusetts sections of the Connecticut Valley). Also, under many of the tabs to the left are short lists of "Recommended Readings" related to that specific topic area.
There is a very large historical literature on African American History in the decades covered by this project. In the bibliography below we have gathered a selected set of references to good points of entry into the scholarship on Massachusetts and New England. For a much more comprehensive bibliography, please see the bibliography created by BlackPast.org, posted here.
Also note that there are a growing number of data recovery projects unfolding around the region that are gathering valuable content related to this project. These include the Atlantic Black Box project, and the Congregational Library & Archive's initiative New England's Hidden Histories: Colonial-Era Church Records. In Rhode Island, see the Little Compton Historic People of Color database. These website often include supporting materials that will be of interest to anyone researching the history of Black lives in New England.
Below is a selected biography of historical scholarship on African American History in Massachusetts, New England, and the United States. Many additional titles not included below are listed in the Recommended Readings under the tabs to the left.
Battle-Baptiste, Whitney. Black Feminist Archaeology. Routledge, 2011.
Berry, Daina Ramey andKali Nicole Gross. A Black Women's History of the United States. Beacon Press, 2020.
Brooke, John L. "There Is a North:' Fugitive Slaves, Political Crisis, and Cultural Transformation in the Coming of the Civil War. University of Massachusetts Press, 2019.
Farrow, Anne, Joel Lang, and Jenifer Frank. Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery. Ballantine Books, 2006.
Finkenbine, Roy E. “Belinda’s Petition: Reparations for Slavery in Revolutionary Massachusetts.” William and Mary Quarterly 64 (2007): 95-104.
Garman, James C. “Resistant Accommodation: Towards an Archaeology of African-American Lives in Southern New England, 1630-1800,” International Journal of Historical Archaeology 2, 2 (June 1998): 133-160.
Gordon, Ann D. et al, eds, African American Women and the Vote: 1837-1965. UMass Press, 1997.
Hardesty, Jared. Unfreedom: Slavery and Dependence in Eighteenth-Century Boston. New York: NYU Press, 2016.
Jordan, Winthrop D. “The Influence of the West Indies on the Origins of New England Slavery,” William and Mary Quarterly 18, 2 (April 1961): 243-250.
King, Wilma. The Essence of Liberty: Free Black Women During the Slave Era. University of Missouri Press, 2006.
Lewis, Kerima M. “Captives on the Move: Tracing the Transatlantic Movements of Africans from the Caribbean to Colonial New England,” Historical Journal of Massachusetts 44, 2 (Summer 2016): 144-175.
Maskiell, Nicole Safford, “Bound By Bondage: Slavery Among Elites In Colonial Massachusetts and New York” Ph.D Dissertation, Cornell University, 2013.
Maskiell, Nicole Saffold, "“Here Lyes the Body of Cicely Negro”: Enslaved Women in Colonial Cambridge and the Making of New England History," New England Quarterly, (2022) 95 (2): 115–154.
Moulton, Amber D. "Closing the "Floodgate of Impurity": Moral Reform, Antislavery, and Interracial Marriage in Antebellum Massachusetts." Journal of the Civil War Era 3, no. 1 (2013): 2-34.
Moulton, Amber D. The Fight for Interracial Marriage Rights in Antebellum Massachusetts. Cambridge, Massachusetts; London, England: Harvard University Press, 2015.
Pryor, Elizabeth Stordeur. Colored Travelers: Mobility and the Fight for Citizenship before the Civil War. University of North Carolina Press, 2016.
Sweet, John W. Bodies Politic: Negotiating Race in the American North, 1730–1830. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.
Walker, Timothy D. Sailing to Freedom: Maritime Dimensions of the Underground Railroad. UMass Press, 2021.
Weiler, Kathleen. Maria Baldwin's Worlds: A Story of Black New England and the Fight for Racial Justice. UMass Press, 2019.
Weierman, Karen Woods. The Case of the Slave-Child, Med: Free Soil in Antislavery Boston. UMass Press, 2019.
Whiting, Gloria McCahon. “Emancipation without the Courts or Constitution: The Case of Revolutionary Massachusetts,” Slavery & Abolition (November 2019): 1–21.
Whiting, Gloria McCahon. “Power, Patriarchy, and Provision: African Families Negotiate Gender and Slavery in New England,” Journal of American History 103 no. 3 (December 2016): 583–605.
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