September 10, 2009                   

AMHERST, Mass.—Amherst College’s Frost Library will host a book launch of emeritus physics professor Robert Romer’s Slavery in the Connecticut Valley of Massachusetts ($22.50, Levellers Press, 2009) in the Friendly Periodicals room on the main floor of the building at 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 18. The gathering—which is free and open to the public—will feature a brief presentation by the author and light refreshments. Copies of the book will on sale.

Slavery in the Connecticut Valley of Massachusetts is the first history of slavery in Western Massachusetts, where the practice was much more pervasive in the 17th and 18th centuries than many people realize. Romer’s work brings out of obscurity the many slaves who lived in the area at that time.

Romer joined the Amherst faculty in 1955 after earning his Ph. D. from Princeton. He retired as emeritus professor of physics in 2001. From 1969 to 1970, he was a visiting professor at Voorhees College, a black college in Denmark, S.C. He was also editor of the American Journal of Physics from 1988 to 2001. Since 2001, he has served as chair of the American Physical Society’s division of History of Physics and has been doing research on slavery in Western Massachusetts. He delivers many talks on the subject and gives walking tours of known sites where slaves lived in the 1700s.