My new book

“The Eastons: Five Generations of Human Rights Activism, 1748-1935”

 

This is a non-fiction, biographical book about some of my direct ancestors and their relatives who stood up for justice and equality and against racism and oppression, between the years of 1748 and 1935. The topics include: Indigenous land rights struggles; the original spirit and egalitarian goals of the American Revolution (before that movement was co-opted and sabotaged by the plantation aristocrats and capitalists); the anti-slavery movement; race theory and racial identities; and the ever-present American anti-racism and equality movements. Most of the action in these stories took place in southeastern Massachusetts, our Wampanoag homelands, but also in other New England locations, and in Texas, New Orleans, and California. Many of these complex-identity people of color were abolitionists, before the Civil War. This is some very important, foundational, working class, intersecting American history, with many stories that never get told in our schools but should, and hopefully now will.

Did you know that the earliest known sit-in protests in American history were against racially segregated seating in a couple of different Massachusetts churches? Those protests were led by James and Sarah Easton. Did you know that nearly half of the Revolutionary War soldiers in Massachusetts were people of color–indigenous American, indigenous African-descended and mixed? Did you know that during the early, post-Reconstruction, Jim Crow era, the Republican Party in Texas was the progressive, equality-advocating party of the people, in which many of the leaders of that party were people of color, and the Democrats there were largely white supremacists who terrorized and persecuted those Texas Republicans? Those are just a few of the many stories and facts that you will find in this book. Here is a brief description of the six chapters of the book and some of its other contents:

Chapter One, The Origins of the Easton Family and Their Activist Tradition

      This chapter includes the early history of African/Native American relations in       southeastern Massachusetts, origins of the Easton family, some history of Native American resistance to colonialist land-stealing, focused on the Wampanoag and Massachuset people of the Titticut Indian Reservation, and the Easton family’s role in that struggle.

Chapter Two, James Easton: Living the Ideals of the American Revolution

      This chapter covers the early and middle life of James Easton, including his service in the American Revolution, the several protests that he and his wife, Sarah, led against segregated seating in two churches, between 1789 and 1826, and his ascending regional reputation as a skilled blacksmith and producer of iron implements.

Chapter Three, James Easton & Sons: the business, the school, and their opposition

      This chapter details the Easton family’s struggle against racist opposition to their increasing success in the iron implements business, and to their founding of one of the earliest vo-tech type of trade schools in America, founded specifically for young men of color, to address the lack of opportunity for apprenticeships in the skilled trades.

Chapter Four, Hosea Easton: Forgotten Abolitionist “Giant”

        This biographical chapter covers the life and contributions of the best-known Easton family member, the Rev. Hosea Easton—abolitionist, uplift activist, founding member, along with David Walker and others, of the Massachusetts General Colored Association, co-founder of the National Convention of Free People of Color, frequent contributor to The Liberator, author of other publications, and frequent public speaker.

Chapter Five, Benjamin F. Roberts and the Battle for School Integration and Equality in Nineteenth Century Boston

          This chapter covers the life of Benjamin F. Roberts, a grandson of James and Sarah Easton, best known as the initiator of the Roberts v. City of Boston (1849) Massachusetts Supreme Court school integration case, but also a significant activist on several other fronts. Benjamin Roberts was a long time self-employed printer who employed and apprenticed many young men of color over the course of his career, contributed essays to The Liberator, published two of his own newspapers (the Anti-Slavery Herald and the Self-Elevator) and helped organize and publicize many activist meetings, mostly on school integration.

Chapter Six, William Edgar Easton: Still Fighting the Unfinished Revolution

      This chapter provides the first chapter-length scholarly biography of a man who was a very well-known and highly-respected civil rights activist in his day and for decades afterward. William Easton was the great-grandson of James Easton’s brother, Moses Easton, who left Massachusetts in his early twenties to commit his life to “racial uplift”work—first as a teacher, then a newspaper editor, playwright and Republican Party leader in post-Reconstruction Texas, and later, after fleeing Texas for his life, as a writer and political activist in California.

 

The Appendix of the book includes a transcription of the Petition of Wampanoag sachem and preacher, John Simon of Titticut, for protection from the Massachusetts government against land stealers; a detailed list of Wampanoag and Massachuset families and individuals residing at Titticut and Assawompset who sold land, from 1732 to 1786, with Plymouth County land deed file numbers; an impressive list of Easton family property confiscated by the Bridgewater sheriff in 1819, for which the family successfully appealed for restitution in the Plymouth County court; a reproduction of a published account, written by abolitionist Lydia Maria Child, describing some of the details of the Easton family church seating protests; and a few other interesting items.

I also include a section in the book, “Some Notes on Research Methods, Sources, and Interpretation,” in which I provide some useful advice on doing biographical research on historically marginalized and omitted people of color in America.

The price of this paperback book is $24.00 plus a shipping charge of $4.00 per book. Purchasers can pay by credit card, using Venmo, @Barbara-Price-38, or by mailing a check to me at:

George Price

11486 MT Hwy 200

Dixon, MT 59831

Your questions and thoughts can be left in the comments below, and I can also be reached by email at, george.price@mso.umt.edu

Easton book back cover, smaller

 

18 thoughts on “My new book

    • Hey, Great to hear from you, Dave! I haven’t really tried the bookstores yet, but probably will eventually, when it seems safe to do so. I rarely ever leave the farm, now that i’m retired and especially since the pandemic hit. Old geezers like me just have to be real careful! I hope that you and Char are staying safe and healthy.

        • Glad to help. Here is the information on that from the end of the post above (before the last picture):

          The price of this paperback book is $24.00 plus a shipping cost of just enough to partially cover my mailing costs, which I will estimate right now to be an average of $4.00 per book. If that shipping charge changes after I have had a little more experience with sending these books to various places for various postal charges, I will update any revisions on this page. I will do my best to make this book affordable to as many people as possible, while recovering the initial cost of self-publishing. Purchasers can pay by credit card, using Venmo, @Barbara-Price-38, or by mailing a check to me at:

          George Price

          11486 MT Hwy 200

          Dixon, MT 59831

          • Congratulations! I’m certain Fact and Fiction would carry your book. Could I order it through them to get it rolling?

            • Hi Sheryl. Thank you for the suggestion. Because of the great expense of self-publishing, I wouldn’t be able to make a profit, selling the books through a store for this first run of 200 books. When I do another printing after this first run is sold (and otherwise dispensed), that run will cost me much less and i will be able to sell the books for some sort of a profit through stores. So, for now, I will just sell the books directly to people from my house, by mail. Good health and peace to you and Bob.

  1. Mr Price,growing up in Foxboro,Ma,my family knew about my fathers fathers ancestors and where they imigrated from inSweeden However we knew nothing of my fathers mothers side of the family.After learning of your investigating,it became apparent that my grandmother,being an Easton is a decendant of the Eastons in your book which makes me a distant decendant.I fully intend to get the book and find out about my own beginnings.Thanks for your work,William Grahn.

  2. Professor Price, how can we purchase this wonderful saga of your family’s activism through generations? Thanks, Manisha Sinha

    • Hello Manisha! I am truly honored to know that you are interested in my book, since you are one of the top abolitionism historians in the world. I recommended your book, “The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition” to the students in my abolitionism class at the University of Montana. It came out just a year or two before I retired in 2018, or I might have eventually made it required reading for the course.

      The price of this paperback book is $24.00 plus a shipping charge of $4.00 per book. Purchasers can pay by credit card, using Venmo, @Barbara-Price-38, or by mailing a check to me at:

      George Price
      11486 MT Hwy 200
      Dixon, MT 59831

      Another idea is that we could freely exchange autographed copies of our books by mail. But either way, purchase or exchange, would be very gratifying to me. Thanks again for getting in touch with me! I look forward to some day hearing your thoughts on the book.

  3. Dear Professor Price, Thank you for this history. I have a special interest in Thomas Dalton who served as President of the Mass. General Colored Association, participated in the Roberts case, and organized the Wilberforce Manufacturing and Manual Labor School with Joshua Easton and others. I am eager to learn more from your book.If some information was left out in edits, I would be grateful if you would let me know.

    • Thank you, lisebreen, for communicating with me. Although I wrote much about the Easton’s earlier school, the Good Samaritan Society, I didn’t find out about the Wilberforce School until just a few months before the book went to press, when I found Joshua Easton;s petition to the Massachusetts legislature for corporation status for the Wilberforce School, which I added to the book at that time. So I would like to know more about that school, like what became of it after the petition in 1833? Thomas Dalton’s is the second signature on the petition, right after Joshua Easton. I just counted seven entries for Thomas Dalton in the index of my book, probably regarding the MGCA and the school desegregation struggle. It would be great if we could share notes. The book is full of citations for the documentary evidence regarding the information covered therein. The bibliography may also be useful to you. You can contact me by email at george.price@mso.umt.edu

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