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Black freedom community topic of Middlesex lecture

The Middlesex County Museum and Historical Society will present a Zoom lecture at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 13, by Dr. Melvin Patrick Eli, who will discuss his book, “Israel on the Appomattox: A Southern Experiment in Black Freedom from the 1790s Through the Civil War.”

Eli’s book tells the story of Israel Hill, a community of liberated African Americans in Prince Edward County.

Thomas Jefferson denied that whites and freed blacks could live together in harmony. His cousin, Richard Randolph, not only disagreed, but made it possible for 90 African Americans to prove Jefferson wrong.

“Israel on the Appomattox” tells the story of these liberated blacks and the community they formed, called Israel Hill. There, the formerly enslaved established farms, navigated the Appomattox River, and became entrepreneurs. Free blacks and whites did business with one another, sued each other, worked side by side for equal wages, joined forces to found a Baptist congregation, moved west together, an...

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