Slavery and the Langdon Family
Written by Valerie Cunningham
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NH BLACK HISTORY
New Hampshire had slave plantations too. Modern research now shows that that wealthy northern families also kept enslaved Africans as laborers and servants as in the South. The Langdon family of Portsmouth were among the families most dependent on slave labor. John Langdon, NH’s first governor, eventually "freed" his slaves and rehired them as laborers at a minimal wage. Here is their story at last.
VISIT the Black History Trail
A NORTHERN SLAVE PLANTATION
We have many portraits of the aristocratic Langdons, including "abolitionist" and revolutionary patriot John Landgon. But there is not a single portrait of their many slaves. Until recently our view of NH's first governor John Langdon was unidimensional. We know he built the famous early ships Ranger and Raleigh for John Paul Jones, led the raid on Fort William and Mary, hosted George Washington in his downtown mansion that still stands today. Now, through the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail, we see more of the Langdon family and their relationship with the slaves who worked the early family farm and handled the domestic tasks.
Historian Valerie Cunningham uses this chapter in our online series on slavery in Portsmouth, NH to visit the segregated Langdon slave burial ground and to introduce the characters by name (Hannah, Pomp, Nanne, Violet, Scipio). She also explores the rarely discussed topic of African-American slaves on farms in New England. (JDR)
CONTENTS OF THIS ARTICLE
By historian Valerie Cunningham
Jump to Part 1
Slaves on Northern Farms
Langdon Slave Burial Ground
The Langdons and their Slaves
Jump to Part 2
Agricultural Slavery in Colonial Portsmouth
Other Examples of Agricultural Slavery
CONTINUE to read LANGDON FAMILY SLAVES
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