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Lives of Consequence

: $20.00
Item Number: LIVES
Publisher / Author: Portsmouth Marine Society
ISBN: 9780915819461

No. 37 - Lives of Consequence, Blacks in Early Kittery and Berwick in the Massachusetts Province of Maine
By Patricia Q. Wall

Lives of Consequence introduces a social scene that seems all wrong in this now quietly picturesque vacationland. Nothing today suggests that African children and adult ‘servants’ had been here as an involuntary workforce, held captive to provide cheap labor in the English colony. History is silent about the half-black Yankees who lived here, their status having been pre-determined at birth according to the mother’s condition as free or a bond servant and, either way, the child would be valued by the dominant society according to prevailing market prices. Any surviving evidence of Black people inhabiting the coast of Maine is difficult to find, sometimes appearing, the author says, only as a “shadowy mark” on a page that testifies to a reality that was northern complicity in the antebellum trans-Atlantic economic system.

From the Foreword:
Based on careful research conducted over many years by Patricia Q. Wall, this book presents the first detailed look at the lives of more than four hundred Black individuals who lived in Kittery and Berwick, Maine, from the seventeenth century until about 1820. Pat has patiently combed the available public and private documents to find whatever scraps of information had been recorded about these African Americans. Because most lived their lives in the shadows of the historical record, much has been lost. As Pat reveals, however, in addition to the personal trajectories of their own lives, they also played important roles in the life of their towns. Thanks to her research, we have a much better understanding of the importance of the Black, Native American, and mixed-race populations in southern Maine, both in qualitative and quantitative terms. We congratulate Pat on her research and are proud to publish her work. As a pioneering modern social historian, she has shed light on an important but largely ignored subject.
Foreword by Portsmouth Historical Society Executive Director Kathleen Soldati, and Black Heritage Trail of NH Executive Director Jerrianne Boggis.

From the Preface:

Patricia Q. Wall has collected what she says are “scattered bits” of information about slavery in the earliest European settlements in Maine. But this is much more than a dry catalogue of names and statistics, remarkable as that alone would be. This is her passionately narrated account of the challenges encountered when attempting to research a community of Africans and their American descendants, a community of people that was ignored and then forgotten when their bodies were no longer useful to others for building personal wealth.
Preface by Valerie R. Cunningham, Trustee emeritus, Black Heritage Trail of NH. Gerald W.R. Ward, editor.

2017 Softcover, 240 pages, 6×9,
ISBN: 978-0-915819-46-1


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