Columbia Rd. and Stoughton St., Uphams Corner, Dorchester, MA
The Dorchester North Burying Ground was built in 1634 and it remains one of only a handful of seventeenth century burial sites in Boston. While the burial site is famous for the two colonial governors buried there, three enslaved people are buried there as well. In 1754, Dorchester was home to thirty-one enslaved men and women. Betty, Ann, and Cambridge were enslaved to Antigua plantation owner, Captain Robert Oliver. Headstones for the three - Ann and Cambridge, who died as children, and Betty, who died at twenty-five - survive at this site.
Photo Courtesy of Dorchester Historical Society
Copp’s Hill Burying Ground
Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, c. 1900 Hull Street and Snow Hill Street North End, Boston, MA
Copp’s Hill Burying Ground was established in Boston in 1659. In addition to its Revolutionary War fame - the remnants of British bullets still mark the epitaph on Captain Daniel Malcolm’s tombstone - the cemetery is also the final resting place for countless Bostonians of African descent, both enslaved and free. These include Revolutionary War veteran and Masonic founder, Prince Hall (c. 1735 - c. 1809). During the early eighteenth century, the neighborhood around Copp’s Hill was home to many African descended people, and referred to, by some, as "New Guinea."
Library of Congress
Old Indian Meeting House
410 Meetinghouse Road Mashpee, MA
The Old Indian Meeting House (est. 1684) remains a contested site of New England’s indigenous history. As the oldest extant Indian church in the eastern United States, it was an important community site for Mashpee Wampanoag Indians on Cape Cod. At the same time, it reflects European efforts to convert Native people to Christianity. Many African descended people intermarried and formed kinship ties to Mashpee Wampanoag people. In 1833, for instance, William Apess (1798 - 1839), a Pequot man from northwestern Massachusetts who attended an African Free School in Connecticut, organized the Mashpee Revolt at this Meeting House.
Old Indian Meeting House, postcard, 1905
Zipporah Potter Atkins Site
Rose Kennedy Greenway & Hanover St.
Although Massachusetts was one of the first states to end slavery during the 1780s, it was also the first colony to establish slavery within its 1641 “Body of Liberties.” By the beginning of the War for Independence, many of the leading families across the colony - including the Vassalls in Cambridge, the Royalls in Medford, and the Wheatleys in Boston - owned slaves, or earned vast fortunes from the Atlantic Slave Trade. Despite this racial and economic reality, a free woman of African descent purchased a house in the North End in 1670. Zipporah Potter Atkins (c. 1645 - 1705) was born free, although details of her life are largely unknown. At the time of Atkins’ purchase, the house was located next to Mill Pond and Hanover Avenue, and Atkins was one of the only black homeowners in the city. Before her death, Atkins signed her initials on a deed in Suffolk County, the first woman of African descent to do so.