Historic American church set to integrate its slavery ties

Aug 16, 2021, 4:32 PM | Updated: Aug 17, 2021, 5:06 am

The great contradiction of Boston’s Old North Church is that a site pivotal to the freedom of the nation is the same place where slave owners and traders once worshiped.

Now, with a $75,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities announced Tuesday, the foundation responsible for the preservation of the church campus and the visitor experience plans to overhaul its educational programming to better reconcile and integrate those ties to slavery.

The grant is one of $28.4 million in grants for about 240 projects nationwide.

“We’ll be able to address what I call the paradox of the Old North Church,” said Nikki Stewart, executive director of the Old North Foundation, which is distinct from the active Episcopal congregation that still uses the site for religious services. “People see us as a symbol of liberty and independence, but the reality is that the church benefitted from the enslavement of Africans.”

For example, the famous steeple was financed in part by the sale of logwood, the harvesting of which was dependent on slave labor, she said.

The church, built in 1723, is known to generations of schoolchildren as the place where in 1775 two lanterns in the steeple signaled that the British were heading to Concord and Lexington “by sea” and set Paul Revere on the ride that ignited the American Revolution.

The links to slavery have always been known, but just how strong those ties were came to light several years ago after the foundation started a program to highlight the connections of several congregants to the Colonial chocolate-making trade.

One of those chocolatiers, it turned out, was Newark Jackson, who was also a sea captain and smuggler who trafficked in slaves.

“That was really a punch in the gut to our whole organization,” Stewart said.

Further research found that Jackson was killed during a mutiny aboard a ship in 1743 that at the time was transporting 15 slaves, 13 of whom were children.

Like most cultural organizations, the Old North Foundation suffered greatly during the pandemic. The church welcomed about 150,000 visitors in 2019. It shut down completely for a while, and Stewart estimates that current visitation is still only about half what it was.

The grant will help change the educational experience in three ways: through the narratives the staff tells to visitors; through updated exhibits and interpretive signage; and through new online and digital programming designed for children.

“It is our hope that through this plan that all Americans will be able to see their stories in the Old North Church,” Stewart said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

murders...
Associated Press

Appeals court upholds most Eyman campaign finance violations

A Washington state Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld most of the campaign finance violations that longtime anti-tax initiative promoter Tim Eyman was found liable for last year.
15 hours ago
A Washington State Department of Agriculture worker displays an Asian giant hornet taken from a nes...
Associated Press

No northern giant hornets found in 2022 in Washington state

Citizen trapping of northern giant hornets in northwest Washington ended Nov. 30 without any confirmed sightings of the hornets this year, state officials said Tuesday.
15 hours ago
Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., arrives at the Capitol after defeating Republican challenger Herschel ...
Associated Press

Warnock win makes it official: Georgia is a ’24 battleground

ATLANTA (AP) — Fresh off Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock’s runoff victory, Georgia Democrats are embracing — and Republicans are reluctantly accepting — the state’s transition from GOP stronghold to a premier battleground as the political calendar turns to the 2024 presidential cycle. Democrats and Republicans alike are parsing their victories and defeats after an extended […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

12-year-old boy charged with murder in fatal Dallas crash

DALLAS (AP) — A 12-year-old boy has been arrested and charged with murder in a hit-and-run car crash that killed an 82-year-old woman last month, Dallas police said Wednesday. Police said the boy was behind the wheel of a grey sedan that struck Florence Kelly as she was driving in north Dallas on Nov. 7. […]
15 hours ago
FILE - The San Juan Generating Station near Farmington, N.M., is shown on Sept. 28, 2022. Many deci...
Associated Press

Slate of New Mexico regulatory candidates sparks concern

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Many decisions by New Mexico’s most powerful regulatory panel have had direct economic and environmental consequences for one corner of the state, and yet not one candidate nominated to fill the Public Regulation Commission is from northwestern New Mexico. Critics are concerned about the lack of representation as Gov. Michelle Lujan […]
15 hours ago
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, speaks during a news conference with Australian Deputy Prime Min...
Associated Press

EXPLAINER: What end of vaccine mandate means for US troops

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress’ move to eliminate the Pentagon mandate that all U.S. service members get the COVID-19 vaccine delivers a victory for lawmakers and troops who oppose getting the shot, but it raises questions and potential risks, especially for forces deploying overseas. A compromise provision requiring Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to rescind the requirement […]
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Historic American church set to integrate its slavery ties