VAHA! – Local History Guild Race and the Voting Block in Antebellum New Bedford


Listen to a conversation about race, voting, and politics in nineteenth century New Bedford and America in this Local History Guild conversation. Whaling Museum Curator of Maritime History Michael P. Dyer moderates this discussion with esteemed scholars Van Gosse, author of The First Reconstruction: Black Politics in America from the Revolution to the Civil War, and David Waldstreicher, Editor of Revolutions and Reconstructions: Black Politics in the Long Nineteenth Century.

David Waldstreicher is Distinguished Professor of History at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is the author of Slavery’s Constitution: From Revolution to Ratification (2009) and Runaway America: Benjamin Franklin, Slavery, and the American Revolution, and edited a two-volume edition of The Diary of John Quincy Adams, 1779-1848 for the Library of America. His essays have appeared in The Atlantic and The Boston Review, and he is currently finishing a biography entitled, The Odyssey of Phillis Wheatley.

Van Gosse is a Professor of History at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He is the author of numerous articles and books on post-1945 politics and social movements, including Where the Boys Are: Cuba, Cold War America, and the Making of a New Left. More recently, he has written on African American politics in the antebellum era, including his 2021 book, The First Reconstruction: Black Politics in America, From the Revolution to the Civil War. He is also co-chair of Historians for Peace and Democracy (

This program made possible in part by Homelight.



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