SALEM — Wendy Warren brings surprising information about New England’s involvement in the slave trade to The Gables in her Thursday, May 11, presentation.
The era of colonizing New England, Warren recently told Terry Gross on Fresh Air, “was a time of warfare and brutality, and a lot of fear and trauma.” Most people don’t realize the degree to which New England participated in chattel bondage. Colonists sold Native Americans to overseers of the sugar plantations in the West Indies while they imported Africans from the West Indies.
Warren has a doctorate in history from Yale and is a professor of history at Princeton. Her recent book, “New England Bound: Slavery and Colonization in Early America,” reveals that selling Africans and Native Americans in seventeenth-century New England was considered acceptable even by religious standards. “Slavery was embedded in the process of colonization, and, in some cases, it drove the process of colonization,” she says. Her book, based on extensive study of primary source documents such as wills, letters, ledgers and journals, illuminates the symbiosis between slavery and colonization in the Atlantic World. “New England Bound” was a Pulitzer Prize Finalist in History in 2017.
Colonization was a bloody process that involved removal and replacement of enslaved people, the clearing of land as well as warfare. Few Americans realize that half of the enslaved that worked on sugar plantations in the West Indies died due to the brutality of the work. Warren says that most people today weren’t taught and don’t know about the New England slave trade and its impact on early American history.
Dr. Warren’s presentation is part of the Seven Lectures at Seven Gables series, and complements The Gables’ current exhibition, “Life and Labor Over Four Centuries at The House of the Seven Gables.” The exhibition will be open before and after the lecture for those interested.
The lecture begins at 6 p.m., on Thursday, May 11, at The House of the Seven Gables Visitor Center, located at 115 Derby St., in Salem, Massachusetts. The cost is $7. A book signing for “New England Bound” follows the lecture in the Museum Store. Those interested in reservations may visit www.7Gables.org; email groups@7Gables.org; or call 978-744-0991, ext. 152.
Wendy Warren is Assistant Professor of History; Philip and Beulah Rollins Bicentennial Preceptor at Princeton University. She specializes in the history of colonial North America, and the early modern Atlantic World. She is particularly interested in the day-to-day practice of colonization, and in the negotiations and conflicts that exist between would-be rulers and the unruly.
Professor Warren began her work at Princeton in 2010, after receiving her M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in history from Yale University. Her book, “New England Bound: Slavery and Colonization in Early America” (Liveright/W.W. Norton, 2016), explores the lived experience of chattel bondage in 17th-century New England, illuminating the deadly symbiosis between slavery and colonization in the Atlantic World.