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Three Hundred and Fifty Years of Black Presence in Boston: Building Traditions

The first groups of Africans to reach the Bay Colony in 1638 were designated "perpetual servants." By 1715, the new African arrivals were being called "slaves," as the Bay Colony took an active part in the slave trade. The numbers of all Blacks in Boston remained small in the Colonial era, comprising only ten percent of the population in 1752, but members of their ranks were to establish traditions that have continued in Boston's Black communities for 350 years.

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