Join the Association of Black Citizens of Lexington on Thursday, July 8, 2021, for the 1st Annual Quock Walker Day aka Massachusetts Emancipation Day Community Celebration.
This virtual event begins at 7 pm.
To join from a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android device:
Please click this URL to join. https://zoom.us/j/98698920920?pwd=NzMwN0hHWTNuV2lNbkpITkdqM2VRdz09
Quock Walker Day celebrates the Massachusetts Supreme Court decision of July 8, 1783, that found a White enslaver guilty of assault on Quock Walker, a freedom seeking Black man, and agreed with Chief Justice Cushing that the ideas of slavery and perpetual servitude were incompatible with the state constitution.
On June 15, 1780, the Constitution of the Commonwealth was ratified by the voters of Massachusetts. The first article stated, “All men are born free and equal, and have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.”
The Quock Walker trials span from 1781 to 1783. In 1781 Quock Walker, a young man from Barre, MA and of Akan and/or Ewe lineage, filed a civil suit against Nathaniel Jennison for assault and battery. Mr. Walker was found by the jury to be free and was awarded 50 pounds. Following appeals and a criminal case, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court found Jennison guilty of assault and agreed that the ideas of slavery and perpetual servitude were incompatible with the state constitution. Mr. Walker’s fight through the legal system to safeguard his natural freedom ended up ending slavery in Massachusetts.
This year ABCL will host a multi-speaker presentation about the history of slavery in Massachusetts and the life and legacy of Quock Walker. Come and learn about the Akan people of Ghana and the movement to officially recognize Massachusetts Emancipation Day.
Featured topics and speakers include:
- Why Quock Walker Day – Phillip James, History Department Coordinator, Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School
- Agency and Quock Walker’s Journey to Freedom (How Entrepreneurship and Hutzpah Allowed Quock Walker and his Siblings to Escape the Condition of No Longer Enslaved but Still Not Free) – Zine Magubane, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology, Boston College
- The Language of the Massachusetts Constitution and the Quock Walker Cases of 1781 to 1783 – Robert Bellinger, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History, Suffolk University
- The Akan Diaspora in Massachusetts – Kerima Lewis, Ph.D., Affiliated Faculty, Emerson College
- Ongoing Akan & Ewe Ethnic Group Connections to Massachusetts – Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah, Ph.D., Ambassador of Ghana to the United States of America
- Traditional Akan & Ewe Ethnic Group Leadership – Osabarima Owusu Baafi Aboagye III, Chief of Akyem Dwenase, Akyem Abuakwa State, Ghana and appointed member to the Judicial Committee of Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Council in Ghana
- Visiting the Quock Walker Family Historical Sites – Leslie P. Choquette, Ph.D., Professor of History, Assumption College
- Next Steps to Making Quock Walker Day Legislation Law – Cindy F. Friedman, State Senator of 4th Middlesex
Hosted by the Association of Black Citizens of Lexington, co-sponsored by Lexington Historical Society and Five Fields Real Estate – COMPASS.