December 23, 2019

NOT SO BRIGHT: Boston has changed the name of Dudley Square in the city’s Roxbury neighborhood to Nubian Square. Why? Some people were concerned that Gov. Thomas Dudley (1576-1653) had “something” to do with slavery. In fact, there is no evidence Dudley owned any slaves and, according to the Boston Globe, “his role in the promotion of slavery is somewhat murky.” On the other hand, as Jeff Jacoby points out, the various ancient Nubian kingdoms honored by the square’s new name were centers for slavery. Slaves were a vital part of their economy; they were the kingdoms’ main export.

My late mother was a New Englander and tended to think of New Englanders as better educated than the rest of the country. (We all have our biases.) She must not have been thinking of Boston.

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