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Land & Labor Acknowledgements: Enslavement in New England

An introduction to land and labor acknowledgements, their purpose, and examples

Enslavement in New England

This page provides resources to help you learn more about the history of enslavement in New England. Enslavement is often associated with the South in the United States, but it is important to learn about and understand how New England participated and was complicit in systems of enslavement.

"Shortly after the first Europeans arrived in seventeenth-century New England, they began to import Africans and capture the area's indigenous peoples as slaves. By the eve of the American Revolution, enslaved people comprised only about 4 percent of the population, but slavery had become instrumental to the region's economy and had shaped its cultural traditions. This story of slavery in New England has been little told."

- From the summary of the book Black Lives, Native Lands, White Worlds: A History of Slavery in New England by Jared R. Hardesty, University of Massachusetts Press, 2019


Photo of the headstone for Dinah in Oxford MA

Photo of a headstone for Dinah in Oxford, MA. The text of the headstone reads:

Dinah a faithful slave died 1829. Supposed to be 100 years old.

Slavery was abolished in Massachusetts by the state Supreme Court in 1783. Yet upon her death in 1829, Dinah was still memorialized as "a faithful slave."

Photo by Martha Gunnarson, 2018. 

Learn About the History of Enslavement in New England