When:Monday, December 12, 2011
Time: 7:00pm until 9:00pm
WhereNeilson Library, Browsing Room, Smith College.
7 P.M. MONDAY, DEC 12, 2011. BRUCE LAURIE TALKA talk on current research and writing on abolition era Northampton by Bruce Laurie, emeritus professor of history at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and scholar-in-residence at Historic Northampton.
John P. Williston
Professor Laurie will preview his work-in-progress on Northampton abolitionists from the founding of the Old Hampshire Anti-Slavery Society in the late 1830s through the rise of political abolitionism during the 1840s. It will feature profiles of such movement stalwarts as Sylvester Judd, John P. Williston, Moses Breck, and David Ruggles, who bridged the divide between the Garrisonian and anti-Garrisonian stages of the movement and who did heroic work for the Underground Railroad. It will also reveal their remarkably enlightened racial views and practices.
Extending the depth of scholarship that made his Beyond Garrison: Antislavery and Social Reform (Cambridge University Press, 2005) such a groundbreaking work, Laurie explores the local manifestations of the Liberty and Free Soil parties as they grew in the countryside of Massachusetts. In what became Florence, the Northampton Association developed as a community of Garrisonian radical reformers in the early 1840s. At the same time a different approach to ending slavery held sway in downtown Northampton where the evangelical abolitionism of Joshua Leavitt had taken root. Laurie will shed light on sometimes complicated interactions in a town rich in historical figures and events.
At right: Ten fugitive slaves living in Northampton published a call to meeting to address Northampton’s response to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. The meeting held on October 23, 1850 was largely attended and held in the new city hall.
Bruce Laurie was awarded a Scholar-In-Residence grant from Mass Humanities to study abolitionism & the underground railroad in Northampton. Laurie, is editor (with Milton Cantor) of Class, Sex, and the Woman Worker (1977), and author of Artisans into Workers: Labor in Nineteenth Century America (1989). His Beyond Garrison: Antislavery and Social Reform, (Cambridge University Press, 2005) re-established the role of political abolition in Garrisonian Massachusetts. His newest work, with Ronald Story, is The Rise of Conservatism in America, 1945-2000 (Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, 2008).
Abolition Era Northampton
45 Elm Street as it appeared in the 19th century. The former South Carolina slave auctioneer Thomas Napier lived here in the 1830s. Now Mary Ellen Chase House at Smith College, the stalwart abolitionist Lydia Maria Child lived next door in what is now Duckett house as Napier’s neighbor, contributing, no doubt, to her jaundiced view of the state of abolition in Northampton.
The David Ruggles Center for Early Florence History & Underground Railroad Studies
This program is funded in part by Mass Humanities, which receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of
the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The Smith College
American Studies Program