‘Slavery in the Bowels of a free & Christian Country:’ People of Color and the Struggle for Freedom in Revolutionary Massachusetts”


American Antiquarian Society
185 Salisbury Street
Worcester, MA 01609
United States

Co-Sponsored by Africana Studies at the College of the Holy Cross

Regional people of color submitted three important petitions to the provincial legislature: one calling for an end of slavery in the colony, another asking that former slaves be transported back to Africa, and a third that the legislature set aside lands in the western part of Massachusetts for former slaves. This presentation will explore the relationships of people of color in central New England as “A great number of Negroes …detained in a state of Slavery” to an emerging political discourse of revolutionary freedom and racial equity in rural Massachusetts.


Thomas Doughton is the Senior Lecturer at the Center for Interdisciplinary and Special Studies at the College of the Holy Cross. He received his PhD from the Universite de Paris. Doughton specializes in the history of people of color and their relationships with whites in Central New England.