“The Lowest of the Mob”: Exploring the Actions of Sailors and Slaves during the Stamp Act Crisis.

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Exploring the Stamp Act: Hangings in Effigy, Crowd Actions, and Funerals for “Liberty”

In the late fall of 1765, colonists wearing “soot, sailors habits and slouch hats” harassed Crown officials, tore down houses of prominent merchants, and violently hounded those suspected of involvement with the “damned stampt paper.” Descriptions of these disorderly, drunken protestors contrasted with accounts of symbolic protest scenes, such as funerals for “Liberty.” Molly Fitzgerald Perry, Lecturer at Christopher Newport University, will analyze the descriptions of Jack Tar sailors alongside those of free and enslaved people of color, highlighting questions of these individuals as both social actors and political icons. Tracing the spread of news and heated debates between residents of New England port towns and plantation ports across the Lower South and West Indies, Ms. Perry will recreate the central role played by mariners and African Americans during this moment of imperial disruption. This series is made possible by a grant from the Lowell Institute