Black Walden: Slavery and Its Aftermath in Concord, Massachusetts


Product Details

University of Pennsylvania Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 0.58 X 9.0 inches | 0.84 pounds

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About the Author

Elise Lemire is the author of "Miscegenation" Making Race in America, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press. She is Professor of Literature at Purchase College, State University of New York.


"Elise Lemire has written an elegantly researched, deeply insightful, and eminently readable history of the embattled black families in New England's most celebrated town from the Revolutionary era to the heyday of the Transcendentalists. It is certain to be of the greatest interest not only to scholars across the entire interdiscipline of American studies but also to any and all readers interested in the tangled history of race in America."--Lawrence Buell, author of New England Literary Culture

"This small but important study shines light on Africans in Massachusetts as both slaves and freeman. . . . The life of Concord's Africans in and out of slavery was one of prejudice, submission, abandonment, poverty, and absence of earthily rewards. . . . Essential."--Choice

"Lemire has unearthed an astonishing amount of detailed information about more than a dozen African and African American slaves and the interconnected white families who built their fortunes and genteel reputations on their backs. . . . A beautifully written, fascinating, and challenging piece of historical detective work."--Joanne Pope Melish, Journal of the Civil War Era

"Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts, is most famous as the place where Henry David Thoreau went to 'live deliberately' and subsist on the land. Lemire . . . sets about to resurrect the memory of not only the freedmen and -women who dwelled there but also the history of slavery in Concord. . . . Ultimately, Lemire conveys the idea that before Walden Pond was a 'green space, ' it was, in fact, a 'black space.'"--Library Journal

Designated a "We the People" project by the National Endowment for the Humanities

"Lemire has genuinely enriched our understanding not only of the history of Concord but also of the country for which that fabled town still so often stands."--New England Quarterly

"Thanks to Lemire's ingenious research, such valiant figures as Brister Freeman and Cato Ingraham can claim their just place alongside the more famous Minutemen in the town that fired the 'shot heard 'round the world.'"--Robert Gross, author of The Minutemen and Their World

"Breathtaking. . . . Lemire's meticulous and inspired archival research shows that 'Concord, Massachusetts, of all places, was a slave town.' . . . Imaginative and moral generosity, to both the black and the white eighteenth and early nineteenth century Concordians whose intimately entangled fortunes she chronicles, is a hallmark of her study. At the same time, Lemire is clear-eyed and clear-voiced about the facts and meanings of inter-racial Concord's 'long and brutal history.'"--American Literary History

"Lemire has put together an engrossing portrait of slaveholders and the freed people in Concord."--Journal of African American History