Black History Month Special

Abijah Prince was born into slavery in the early 17th century in Springfield, Massachusetts, but in middle age, he arranged his own freedom and married (and freed) the dynamic and eloquent Lucy Terry of the nearby town of Deerfield. Against incredible odds, the couple became property-owners and respectable members of the largely white community in which they lived. When author Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina began to follow the legend of the Princes, she was astonished to find that her own ancestors were part of the story. As she unraveled fact from fiction, Gerzina began to realize she was uniquely suited to bring the real history of this extraordinary couple to light. Her book is MR. AND MRS. PRINCE: How An Extraordinary Eighteenth-Century Family Moved Out of Slavery and Into Legend.

Also, when we think of slavery in the U.S., most of us think about the South. But as Anne Farrow, Joel Lang, and Jenifer Frank demonstrate in COMPLICITY, the North promoted and profited from that “peculiar institution”. All journalists with the Hartford Courant Farrow, Frank and Lang drew from from long-ignored documents to create a fascinating and sobering work that uncovers this lesser-known aspect of the history of American slavery.

And we hear an excerpt from a longer archived interview with writer Patricia Klindienst, author of THE EARTH KNOWS MY NAME: Food, Culture, and Sustainability in the Gardens of Ethnic America. She tells us about about the traditional gardens brought by African slaves whose descendants became the Gullah people of the South Carolina Sea Islands.

Finally, award-winning poet Lynn Thompson reads “Grenadine”, a poem about her West Indian ancestors from BEG NO PARDON.