Dr. Vivian R. Johnson on “Free, Black and Female: The Zipporah Potter Atkins Story of Homeownership in Colonial Boston”

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In early Colonial Boston, Zipporah Potter Atkins was free when most Africans were enslaved; propertied when most women were not; and had six surnames when surnames were rarely used for people of African descent.  Who is this little-known woman whose 17th century house-site recently was designated for a Historic Interpretive Marker on what is now the Rose Kennedy Greenway? Dr. Vivian R. Johnson, retired BU education professor, engaged in a challenging document search uncovering evidence of Atkins' extraordinary life during Boston's first 70 years.

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