In progressive Massachusetts, a long history of white supremacy

By Danny McDonald Globe Staff, Updated July 15, 2022, 6:03 p.m.

But white supremacist movements have deep roots in Massachusetts and New England, historians said. While the displays of propaganda are shockingly hateful and vile, they are far from new.

The Colonists, of course, codified slavery in Massachusetts in 1641, more than a century before the United States declared its independence. (The state abolished slavery in the 1780s.) In the early 1700s, the local Colonial legislature passed a law prohibiting interracial marriage and sex. The ban on sex was removed in 1786, but the ban on mixed marriages was expanded to include Native Americans. Two years later, local authorities prescribed whipping for nonresident Black people who stayed in the state more than two months.

The anti-immigration movement also has roots in Massachusetts. In the 1890s, a trio of Boston Brahmin intellectuals founded the Immigration Restriction League, which laid the intellectual groundwork for many contemporary hard-line beliefs. (More)

Beside the nation’s first Black woman Supreme Court justice is her husband, a ‘quintessential Boston Brahmin’

By Emma Platoff Globe Staff, Updated July 9, 2022, 3:06 p.m.

He descends from British royalty and New England merchants, some who profited off slave ships or themselves owned people. She can trace her ancestors to plantations in the antebellum South, where they were enslaved. His forefathers led states and industries, accumulating vast wealth; hers were sharecroppers denied the profits of their own harvests. His family signed the US Constitution, a document that defined hers as less than fully human.

For centuries the ancestral lines of Ketanji Onyika Brown and Patrick GravesJackson were impossibly far apart. Then, 30 years ago at Harvard, they crossed.

In February, when President Biden nominated Jackson to the Supreme Court, a group of local genealogists set out to find where, and who, she came from. It started as an informal project for researchers at the Boston-based nonprofit American Ancestors, also known as the New England Historic Genealogical Society, who tracked both sides of the Jackson family. They wanted to see how far they could get. (More)

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