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Biography & Autobiography Cultural Heritage

The Life of Boston King

by (author) Carmelita A.M. Robertson & Ruth Holmes Whitehead

Nimbus Publishing
Initial publish date
Jan 2003
Cultural Heritage
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2003
    List Price

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In the summer of 1783, at the end of the American Revolution, several thousand Black men, women and children left New York City with the British Army, bound by ship for Nova Scotia. Now uniformly called "Black Loyalists", regardless of their status at leaving New York, theirs is a rich and fascinating history. One of the most well-documented of these Black Loyalists was a man named Boston King, born a slave to Richard Waring, a rice-planter in South Carolina.

King experienced a religious revelation while in Nova Scotia, and became a Methodist preacher; he went to Sierra Leone in 1792 to spread the Gospel; and from there was invited to England to study at a Methodist school. While there, he wrote the story of his life and conversion. This was published in the Methodist Magazine of the times.

Thus survived one of only three autobiographies of a Black Loyalist, full of details of the Loyalist settlement of Nova Scotia. It is reprinted here as "Memoirs of the Life of Boston King, a Black Preacher," edited by Ruth Holmes Whitehead and Carmelita Robertson. An introduction by Ruth Holmes Whitehead presents new research findings about King's life, and her Afterword examines particularly his life as a slave on the Waring Plantation, near Charleston, SC. Whitehead and Robertson revisited the ruins of two Waring plantations, where King would have worked as a child and young man, and photographed the dirt road, still running through one plantation, down which he would have ridden away to freedom.

About the authors

Carmelita A.M. Robertson's profile page

Ruth Holmes Whitehead has worked since 1972 for the Nova Scotia Museum, since 2003 as a Curator Emerita and Research Associate. She has authored or co-authored twenty books, including Stories from the Six Worlds, The Old Man Told Us, Black Loyalists, and Ancestral Images. In 1995, she was awarded a Doctorate of Laws, honoris causa, by St. Francis Xavier University. In 2014, Dr. Whitehead was inducted into the Order of Nova Scotia. She lives in Halifax.

Ruth Holmes Whitehead's profile page

Other titles by Ruth Holmes Whitehead