Detail from frontispiece of Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, Written by Phillis Wheatley, First published in London on September 1, 1773. Courtesy of Massachusetts Historical Society.
Not only were slaves bought and owned in New England itself, New England merchants were linchpins in the triangle trade. The triangle trade refers to the production of sugar and molasses on slave plantations in the West Indies, which was exported to New England for the manufacture of rum. Rum was exported to Africa where slaves were purchased to bring to the West Indies to produce sugar and molasses for New England ports, completing the triangle.
The Boston Massacre, a skirmish between British troops and civilians in downtown Boston, which resulted in the death of 5 civilians, is marked at the Orange Line's State Street Station.
Crispus Atticus, a free man of African and Native American descent was killed and later became an icon of the abolitionist movement. (more at the Boston Public Library Website).
During the revolution, both the British and the American revolutionaries attempted to recruit Black people to their side. The British promised slaves their freedom in exchange for military service, and therefore many were evacuated to Canada, the British Isles, the Caribbean, and eventually some to Sierra Leone after the war.
The rhetoric of the revolution and its democratic principles fed directly into the establishment of an abolition movement after the war.