"'What people need to understand is that, here in the North, while there were not the large plantations of the South or the Caribbean islands, there were families who owned slaves,' said Stephen Bressler, director of Brookline’s Human Relations-Youth Resources Commission. 'There were businesses actively involved in the slave trade, either directly in the importation or selling of slaves on our shores, or in the shipbuilding, insurance, manufacturing of shackles, processing of sugar into rum, and so on. Slavery was a major stimulus to the Northern economy.'"