Lynn Clark and Rebecca Courser will present their research on rural free-black settlement in post-Revolutionary New Hampshire, documenting the stories of many African American inhabitants in five towns in the Kearsarge-Lake Sunapee region. While the histories of these individuals are important in their own right, what they reveal about the attitudes and prejudices of the early local historians is perhaps more relevant. This program challenges us to acknowledge the relevance of African-American history throughout New Hampshire and to start to compensate for the many years that the state’s black heritage has been misunderstood or forgotten altogether.
The presentation will explore various themes, rather than a more formal chronological approach. Clark and Courser will explore questions using families and individual stories as evidence. The theme of relevance will be central to the program, as the presenters lead us through documentation such as black soldiers’ war records and published local town histories. We will be paying particular attention to how African Americans were perceived and how they are written about in the historic record and drawing important connections to how these attitudes and assumptions are still present in our contemporary society. We hope that the bulk of this program is a conversation among the presenters and audience about race, local history, and social equity.
This event is generously supported by a grant from New Hampshire Humanities. Event is free and open to the public. Meets in the classroom of the Gatehouse. Advance registration requested. To register, call 603-763-4789 x3.