CRITICAL PLACES: ASTORIA, NEW YORK

(2019)








In a letter from 1708 it is reported that in a place outside New York then known as Newtown, an enslaved "Indian" man together with his enslaved "Negro" wife murdered their master, mistress and five children. The man was hanged, the woman burn alive.

Michel-Ralph Trouillot, in Silencing the Past, discusses how the racial basis of slavery was not fully articulated until the late 1700's. Previous to that it was not uncommon to hold Native Americans, as well as others, in bondage. Only later did "Negro" became synonymous with "Slave."

Maybe that the particularly gruesome punishment of being burnt alive was meted out only to the enslaved Black woman is an early indication of the evolution towards this racial articulation of slavery.




















Additional photographs to follow