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The Troubled History of Family and Slavery in New England

October 14, 2019 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Portrait image of Gloria Whiting standing in front of a brick archway wearing a navy blazer and white shirt. Whiting is smiling and wears long dark hair around her shoulders

Monday Seminar:

Gloria Whiting

Race, Ethnicity, and Indigeneity Fellow (2019-2020)

E. Gordon Fox Assistant Professor of History, History, UW-Madison


New England has long been seen as a cradle of liberty in American history, yet it was also a cradle of slavery. From the earliest years of colonization, New Englanders bought, traded, and sold people—most of whom were African. My project tells New England’s early history from the perspective of these people: the people who belonged to others. It pays particular attention to the contours of their intimate lives, asking how belonging to owners prevented the enslaved from belonging to one another. But the project does more than lay bare the obstacles to family stability for bound New Englanders; it also explores how people of color responded to these limitations. Ultimately, I argue that the actions taken by the enslaved to fortify their families played an important role in bringing about the sudden and poorly understood collapse of slavery in Massachusetts.

Gloria Whiting is E. Gordon Fox Assistant Professor of History at UW-Madison. She earned her Ph.D. at Harvard University and her B.A. at Rice University and has published in the Journal of American History, the Journal of the Early Republic, the Journal of Social History, and Common-place. She is currently completing a book titled Belonging: An Intimate History of Family and Slavery in Early New England, which is under contract with the University of Pennsylvania Press.


October 14, 2019
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Event Categories:


University Club, Room 212
432 East Campus Mall
Madison, Wisconsin 53703 United States