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Black / African-American History Month: Local African American History

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1764 Receipt for Sale of Phebey, Enslaved Child to Framingham Widow

Bill of Sale for Phebey, Enslaved Child, 1764, From the Framingham History Center. Transcript available.

Picture of original bill of sale written in cursive

Background information from the Framingham History Center.

"This document serves as a receipt for the sale of Phebey, an enslaved child, by Josiah Richardson of Sudbury to Elizabeth Balch, a Framingham widow.  It is the most complete document relating to the sale of an enslaved person in our collection.

Phebey was not an anomaly in Framingham. A 1760 tax accounting identifies seven “slaves for life” in town, but there had once been far more. Most prominent households in town counted at least one enslaved person within their number. 

Phebey, who was just two years old at the time of sale, was sold to the Widow Balch for 1 pound, 6 shillings, and 8 pence, the modern equivalent of roughly $370. This document forces us to face the ways in which the white people of Framingham owed their success to the subjugation and dehumanization of people of African descent, and to consider the echoes of this practice that still exist today. Continued records of Phebey’s life are lost, but if she lived to see slavery outlawed in the state in 1783, she would have been 21 years old."

National Online Resources for African American History Month


Some Free Online Publications

American Revolutionary War Hero

Crispus Attucks - born in Framingham. From the Framingham History Center.

Portrait of Crisus Attucks

Framingham artist Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller in her art studio.

Photo of Meta Warrick Fuller in her studio

Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller in her art studio. See a recreation of the studio inside of the Danforth Museum at Framingham State.

Some Local Online Collections - Primary Sources

African American Online Sources at the Massachusetts Historical Society (in Boston). Includes 

Anti-Slavery Collection at The Boston Public Library

African American Women collections at Radcliffe College's Schlesinger Library

W.E.B. Du Boise Papers, 1803-1999 (build 1877-1963) at UMass Amherst

Black Heritage Trail from the Museum of African American History - click "Start" to see information about 14 sites with Google "street view"

Framingham Mayor Dr. Yvonne M. Spicer

Framingham Mayor Yvonne M. Spicer

photo of framingham mayor dr. Yvonne M. Spicer

Framingham, which recently changed from a Town to a City, elected its' first Mayor - Dr. Yvonne M. Spicer. Dr. Spicer is also the first African-American woman to be elected mayor in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


Sculpture / statue of a woman

Maquette for Ethiopia Awakening, 1921, Painted plaster

The Danforth Museum in Framingham has The Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller Collection permanently on view including a "a re-creation of Fuller’s first studio in Framingham, which was in the attic of her home (c. 1920)." "Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller (1877–1968), an American sculptor, is known for her groundbreaking depictions of the African and African-American experience."

FSU Black Lives Matter Movement: #blacklivesmatter Guide

Some New Books