I have forsworn visiting Boston since 2008. Details of those two trips are here and here
When I swooped in for CrimeBake in 2009 and 2010, I got off the train at Rte128 and never ventured out of the hotel. I was certain Boston had it in for me.
Today however I am back!
The reason I'm here, and the reason I may declare an end to my war with Boston is the Massachusetts Historical Society. If you're in the Boston area and you're not regularly attending their events, you're really missing out.
Tonight was a talk by Vincent Carretta on his new book PHILLIS WHEATLEY. Now, I'm sure you know Phillis Wheatley was an American poet working at the time of the American Revolution. You may remember she was the first person of African descent to be published in the Americas. You probably read some of her work in various anthologies in your American lit classes.
But did you know she was seven years old when she was taken from her home in Africa and sold in Boston? Did you know her name Phillis is that of the ship she arrived on, and her surname Wheatley is that of the family who owned her. I didn't.
That she was taught to read and write, that she was able to secure her freedom, those were all incredible feats in the 18th century. That she is a poet of amazing depth...well that's an incredible feat in every century.
And tonight, at no charge, the Massachusetts Historical Society sponsored a talk by the author of the first full biography of Phillis Wheatley, a book they also supported with grants. Of course I made the trip to attend.
The MHS is sponsoring several other talks about the craft of biography that I will also be attending. Check out their website for the details about the New England Biography Seminar
And while you're at it: check out PHILLIS WHEATLEY.