News release

New Book Features Story of Black Loyalist

Black Loyalist history is the focus of a new book, The Life of Boston King, Black Loyalist, Minister, and Master Carpenter.

Co-published by Nimbus Publishing Ltd., and the Nova Scotia Museum, the book will be launched at the Museum of Natural History, 1747 Summer St., Halifax on Thursday, March 6, at 5:30 p.m.

Nova Scotia Museum ethnologist Ruth Whitehead said the memoir is an important part of the history of Nova Scotia.

"Boston King's autobiography tells us what it was like to be a Loyalist, coming to Nova Scotia in 1783. That time is a fascinating part of our history, about which there are few detailed accounts," said Dr. Whitehead, who co-edited the book with historian Carmelita A.M. Robertson.

Mr. King's memoir is one of only three autobiographies of black Nova Scotians written between 1600 and 1900.

Boston King was born into slavery in Charleston, S.C., in 1760. He became a master carpenter. When Charleston fell to the British in 1780, he made his escape. In 1783, he was one of several thousand black men, women and children to leave New York with the British Army, bound for Nova Scotia. These people are now called the "Black Loyalists."

Mr. King describes his escape to freedom, his struggle to survive in Nova Scotia, and his pivotal conversion to Christianity. He also tells of his decision to return to Africa as a missionary, his long voyage to Sierra Leone, and a subsequent stay in England. His is an eyewitness account of history in the making.

"His autobiography gives us a wealth of detail that no research can," said Dr. Whitehead. "It tells us not only what Boston King did in his lifetime, but how he felt about it all."

To Dr. Whitehead, the heart of this memoir is its depiction of Boston King's triumph of spirit. "The part of his story that touches me most, every time I read it, is his religious epiphany, and his ability to love every living creature on the face of the earth, even those who had oppressed and enslaved him," she said. "Boston King relates his history and his innermost thoughts in such a vivid way, I can't help but admire and like him."

The Life of Boston King is available in bookstores or by calling Nova Scotia Museum books at 902-424-7344 or toll free at 1-800- 632-1114.

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The Nova Scotia Museum will launch its newest book, The Life of Boston King, Black Loyalist, Minister, and Master Carpenter, at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday (March 6th) at the Museum of Natural History, 1747 Summer St., in Halifax .

Co-published by Nimbus Publishing, the book is a memoir of Boston King, a Black Loyalist, skilled artisan and carpenter who became a Methodist minister and lived the last few years of his life as a missionary in Sierra Leone.

Nova Scotia Museum ethnologist Ruth Whitehead says the memoir is an important part of the history of Nova Scotia because it tells us what it was like to be a Black Loyalist in Nova Scotia in 1783. Mr. King's memoir is one of only three autobiographies of black Nova Scotians written between 1600 and 1900.

The Life of Boston King is available in bookstores or by calling Nova Scotia Museum books.

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Contact:

Judith Shiers Milne
Nova Scotia Museum, History Section 902-424-7398 E-mail:
kjd            March 3, 2003       2:52 P.M.