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Inwhen the Massachusetts Constitution went into effect, slavery was legal in the Commonwealth. However, during the years toin three related cases known today as "the Quock Walker case," the Supreme Judicial Court applied the principle of judicial review to abolish slavery. In doing so, the Court held that laws and customs that sanctioned slavery were incompatible with the new state constitution.
The collection highlights the difficulty of positively identifying individual members of early African American families, particularly due to the problem of names, and the paucity of surviving records.
Prince Hall was one of the most prominent free black citizens of Boston during and after the Revolution. Another institution to promote social, political, and economic improvement for African Americans was the African Society formed in Boston in Although Prince Hall apparently was not a founding member of the African Society, the group did share a of members with the African Lodge.
They built community associations that provided mutual support and a foundation for political action, such as the African Society in Boston, and the African Lodge of Masons. However, fear of kidnapping and a forced return to slavery elsewhere was a bar to working on the waterfront or at sea.
They were treated equally by the legal system, but they could not serve on juries. A group of black Masons led by Prince Hall petitioned the General Court in February of to put an end to the slave trade, a petition prompted by the abduction of three free black men in Boston Harbor, who were lured aboard a vessel and subsequently taken to the West Indies to be sold as slaves.
Freed slaves in Massachusetts continued in an inferior social position, legally free but with fewer civil rights than whites. They paid taxes, but could not vote, and, in most cases, their children did not attend public schools, prohibited at least by custom and tradition, if not by law. Robins with instructions to let Mr. The manuscripts all relate in some way to ancestors of Mary Hartford, who may have been born inand died in Mary Hartford, who saved the papers until her death, always maintained that they belonged to her father, whose christened name was Hartford, but whose surname may have changed frequently depending upon the name of his employer, as was common for African Americans, either slave or free.
A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded Prince Hall Prince Hall was one of the most prominent free black citizens of Boston during and after the Revolution. As a result of this petition, along with one put forth by the Quakers and one by the Boston clergy, the General Court passed an act on 26 March "to prevent the Slave Trade, and for granting Relief to the Families of such unhappy Persons as may be Kidnapped or decoyed away from this Commonwealth" Kaplan p.
Prince Hall died in Boston in The remarkable collection of the papers of the ancestors of Mary Hartford, a servant to the Belknap family in Boston, documents the lives of ordinary free African Americans after the Revolution.
Domestic service remained a viable employment, along with common labor and the professions associated with the sea. Prince Hall worked tirelessly for the abolition of slavery, for a legal end to the slave trade in Massachusetts, and for free public education for the children of African American taxpayers in Boston.
Mary Hartford and Free African Americans The remarkable collection of the papers of the ancestors of Mary Hartford, a servant to the Belknap family in Boston, documents the lives of ordinary free African Americans after the Revolution. Born aroundof uncertain origins, he was the slave of William Hall of Boston, who manumitted him in shortly after the Boston Massacre. Indentured servitude also remained in force after the abolition of slavery, and African American children such as Dick Morey were commonly indentured out until they reached the age of Free blacks in the north were continually organizing their communities in hopes of winning freedom for slaves elsewhere, and for bringing the benefits of full citizenship to all African Americans.
It was sometimes more difficult to find work as freedmen than as slaves, since slaves were provided the means of employment by their masters.