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History Revealed: Slavery's Reach

  • East Side Freedom Library 1105 Greenbrier Street Saint Paul, MN, 55106 United States (map)

East Side Freedom Library 1105 Greenbriar Street

The East Side Freedom Library and the Ramsey County Historical Society invite you to a presentation and discussion of "Slavery’s Reach: Southern Slaveholders in the North Star State," featuring historian Christopher Lehman in the ongoing series, “History Revealed."

From the 1840s through the end of the Civil War, leading Minnesotans invited slaveholders and their wealth into the free territory and free state of Minnesota. Dozens of southern slaveholders purchased land and backed Minnesota businesses. Slaveholders’ wealth was invested in some of the state’s most significant institutions and provided a financial foundation for several towns and counties. And the money generated by Minnesota investments flowed both ways, supporting some of the South’s largest plantations. Politicians and officeholders like Henry Sibley, Henry Rice, and Sylvanus Lowry worked with slaveholders. Six hundred residents of the new state of Minnesota petitioned the legislature to make slavery legal for vacationing southerners who brought with them enslaved men and women “as body servants, for their comfort and convenience” while they escaped the summer heat of the South.

Dr. Christopher P. Lehman is a professor of ethnic studies at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. He has been a visiting fellow at Harvard University’s Center for African and African American Research. Through careful research in obscure records, censuses, newspapers, and archival collections, he has brought to light this hidden history of northern complicity in building slaveholder wealth.

Free and open to all

East Side Freedom Library

Earlier Event: December 9
Wild & Scenic Film Festival
Later Event: December 10
World Without Genocide