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|Although often ignored or unrecognized by
both historians and the community-at-large, African-Americans
played an important role in the history of Lowell, Massachusetts.
This exhibit of the events and experiences of two African-American families,
the Quork-Lewis Family and the Lew Family, is an attempt to understand
and appreciate their courage and contributions.
The Quork-Lewis Family (1754-1954)
Among the slaves, owned by Nathaniel Jennison, was Quork's sister Minor Walker. In 1792, she married Peter P. Lewis, also from Barre, and they moved to Cambridge. There they purchased a home and raised a family of nine sons and two daughters. Their sons and daughters became leaders in the anti-slavery movement centered in Boston. About 1830, John and Sophia Lewis Levy, Walker Lewis, Simpson H. Lewis, Andrews V. Lewis, Samuel A. Lewis, Enoch Lewis, and Peter P Lewis, Jr. moved their families to Lowell. Their reasons are not clear: perhaps family ties, business expansion, anti-slavery activities, or better educational opportunities for their children.
John Levy, hairdresser, was an agent for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society and a paid organizer for the Annual National Anti-Slavery Bazaar held in Boston. In 1843, Levy worked with Maria Chapman and Sarah Clay to establish the Lowell Woman's Anti-Slavery Society and their anti-slavery fairs were held in Old City Hall. In 1844, Levy, along with William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglas, and others, helped organize a series of one hundred anti-slavery conventions throughout Massachusetts.
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