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Exeter  

Lucy MacKeith

City with a low black population, but a good example of the historical presence of Blacks in areas outside the major port cities, an indication of how omnipresent they were in Britain from the 17th century onwards.

Parish registers provide examples such as the burial on 4 February 1631 at St Mary Major of ‘Thomas, sonne of a Blackamore’; the baptisms on 16 February 1689 at St Stephen's of ‘Mary Negro, black’, on 9 April 1735 of ‘Charles English, negro’, and on 4 December 1778 of ‘Thomas Walker, a black boy’; and the burial on 8 May 1791 of ‘Robert Hill, black, a servant at the Devon and Exeter Hospital’.

A contemporary broadsheet in November 1668 gives details of ‘200 blacks brought from the plantations of the Netherlands in America’, part of the procession led by William of Orange on his way to claim the throne in London. On 22 ...

Article

Jean M. Borgatti

Massachusetts—predominantly white, with an African American population in 2006 of less than 7 percent—has a peculiar history of liberalism and racism. When the first federal census was enumerated in 1790, Massachusetts was the only member of the Union to record no slaves, having abolished the institution in 1788, seventy-five years earlier than the nation as a whole. Citizens both black and white were prominent in the abolitionist movement, and Massachusetts has no record of lynching.

By 1855 the state had desegregated its schools by law, though segregation—particularly noticeable in education, with consequent ramifications for human and economic development—reemerged in the early twentieth century and persisted until the mid-1970s, especially in urban areas where the African American population is concentrated. Despite the racism underlying the economic and educational problems of the black community in Boston, Massachusetts was the first state to elect an African American, Edward Brooke by ...

Article

Paul Finkelman

probably the second black attorney to be admitted to practice law in the United States, was born in Salem, Massachusetts, to York Morris, a waiter, and Nancy Thomas. His grandfather, Cumons Morris, was brought to the United States from Africa while York Morris gained his freedom in 1781 and moved to Salem, working as a waiter. There he married Nancy Thomas, who gave birth to Robert and ten other children. Morris attended a private school in Salem and then became a waiter like his father. At age thirteen he moved to Boston under the patronage of the abolitionist attorney Ellis Gray Loring. Initially he was a servant in the Loring home; then he became a clerk in Loring's office, mostly copying documents. In 1844 be began reading law in Loring's office, and in 1847 shortly after his twenty first birthday he passed the Massachusetts bar ...