Few people think of a rich Black heritage when they think of New England. In the pioneering book Black Portsmouth, Mark J. Sammons and Valerie Cunningham celebrate it, guiding the reader through more than three centuries of New England and Portsmouth social, political, economic, and cultural history as well as scores of personal and site-specific stories. Here, we meet such Africans as the "likely negro boys and girls from Gambia," who debarked at Portsmouth from a slave ship in 1758, and Prince Whipple, who fought in the American Revolution. We learn about their descendants, including the performer Richard Potter and John Tate of the People's Baptist Church, who overcame the tragedies and challenges of their ancestors' enslavement and subsequent marginalization to build communities and families, found institutions, and contribute to their city, region, state, and nation in many capacities. Individual entries speak to broader issues-the anti-slavery movement, American religion, and foodways, for example. We also learn about the extant historical sites important to Black Portsmouth-including the surprise revelation of an African burial ground in October 2003-as well as the extraordinary efforts being made to preserve remnants of the city's early Black heritage.
Publisher: University Press of New England
Number of pages: 280
Weight: 544 g
Dimensions: 254 x 178 x 21 mm
The book's creation stands as testament to the lives and contributions of blacks to their community, and to the collaboration possible between people of different races.-- "www.seacoastonline.com"
Here, we have a full-bodied cultural history of blacks in Portsmouth . . . I highly recommend it as both a good read and a primary text for all New England history and historians alike.-- "Portland (ME) Library Newsletter"
This book chronicles the lives of black individuals; from the 17th-and 18th-Century slaves to the 19th- and 20th-Century freemen, they are all contributors to the development of this area. It includes the lives of dock workers, sailors, farm hands, craftsmen and those who built churches, social clubs, mutual aid societies and raised families. It ends with a chapter on current day Portsmouth.-- "Northern New Hampshire Magazine"
Black Portsmouth provides information about a vastly understudied population whose history is an essential part of, and provides essential perspective on, the history of Portsmouth. In the breadth of its coverage, it should lead to more specific and detailed work that fleshes out the histories of both the city and its people.-- "Historical New Hampshire"