Promises and Limits of the New Republic: A Closer Look at African Americans on Cape Ann features scholars Joanne Pope Melish, Associate Professor of History Emerita at the University of Kentucky and author of Disowning Slavery: Gradual Emancipation and “Race” in New England, 1780–1860; Kabria Baumgartner, Professor of History at the University of New Hampshire, Durham and author of In Pursuit of Knowledge: Black Women and Educational Activism in Antebellum America; and Lise Breen, local historian and researcher on the history of slavery on Cape Ann. Bethany Jay, Associate Professor of History at Salem State University and co-editor of Understanding and Teaching American Slavery will moderate the discussion, addressing the broad context of freedom and race in the northern states after the American Revolution, with a lens on Essex County and Cape Ann.
This program is the third in a series offered in conjunction with the special exhibition Our Souls are by Nature Equal to Yours: The Legacy of Judith Sargent Murray on display at the Cape Ann Museum through March 2020. Judith Sargent Murray was an advocate for women’s rights at a time when few women were making public their desire for equality. The special exhibition has invited us to take a closer look at life in 18th century America by exploring aspects that are often overlooked in history including women's role in society; educational and economic opportunities for women during the same period; and issues related to gender and race inequality, past and present. This program was made possible through a partnership with the Terra Foundation and the Sargent House Museum. Additional funding was received from Mass Humanities under their special initiative The Vote. Mass Humanities is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.