NEWBURYPORT  – The Museum of Old Newbury is hosting its July lecture with historian Susan Harvey on Thursday, July 25. The presentation will discuss Newburyport and New England’s often-overlooked history of slavery.

Harvey is a descendant of the Morse family, first settlers of Newbury in 1635. Her interest in learning about the effects of the transatlantic slave trade on Newburyport and Massachusetts stems from her teaching U.S. history at Littleton High School. The research she did at the Newburyport Public Library Archival Center represented the core material used for her master’s thesis in history from Fitchburg State University – “Slavery in Massachusetts: A descendant of early settlers investigates the connections in Newburyport, Massachusetts.”

According to a release from the museum, Harvey believes we have been asking the wrong questions about slavery in New England because the region had no slave plantations, unlike the South. New England’s economic ties to the transatlantic slave trade implicate the region in the sale and use of slaves for labor, which formed the basis of America’s economy.

As she approached the topic of northern slavery, Harvey said her initial questions were: Was my family involved in the slave trade, and if so, how? These are questions that people all over New England are beginning to ask themselves as new information comes to light and new scholarship on the topic of northern slavery is published.

The illustrated presentation will be held at the museum’s headquarters at 98 High St. A reception will be held at 6:30 p.m. followed by the lecture at 7 p.m. in the Francis Benjamin Lecture Hall.

Funding for this program is provided by The Institution for Savings. Admission is free, although space is limited, and reservations are requested. To make a reservation, call 978-462-2681 or email

Recommended for you