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Making Freedom
The Extraordinary Life of Venture Smith
Chandler B. Saint, George A. Krimsky; James O. Horton, fwd.



Garnet Books

Wesleyan
2009 • 204 pp. 76 illus. 32 facsimile pages 6 x 9 1/2"
American History / African-American Studies


$19.95 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-6854-0



“Some 850 public libraries statewide will soon have in their collections an account of one of the most significant, compelling - and, until recently, widely overlooked... [continued in Reviews below]”—Judy Benson, New London Day

The inspiring story of an 18th-century New England slave who emancipated himself

Making Freedom is the first in-depth exploration of the life of Venture Smith (1728–1805), a New England slave who was sold into bondage as a boy in Africa and labored for nearly a quarter-century before purchasing his own freedom and transforming himself into a highly respected American citizen. Drawing on years of research and documentation, including Venture Smith’s rare personal autobiography, Saint and Krimsky vividly recount the extraordinary challenges he overcame. They cast a rare light on what it was like to be an African American in the north during the Colonial era. This story’s relevance today prompted the BBC to produce a documentary on scholars’ efforts to learn more about Venture Smith, his life, and family. The book includes a wealth of illustrations, a timeline, and Smith’s original 1798 narrative in facsimile form.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“Some 850 public libraries statewide will soon have in their collections an account of one of the most significant, compelling - and, until recently, widely overlooked - stories of life in colonial Connecticut and surrounding areas. Today at 10 a.m. at the Capitol, five members of the state’s congressional delegation will gather to announce a project to distribute copies of a book and audio CD to 250 municipal libraries and about 600 middle and high school libraries about the life of Venture Smith, an African slave who bought his freedom and became a prominent farmer and trader in 18th-century Connecticut. The book, ‘Making Freedom: The Extraordinary Life of Venture Smith,’ and CD, which contains a reading of Smith’s autobiography, will be distributed for free, thanks to Wesleyan University Press, which published the book at a reduced cost, the Connecticut State Library, which will handle the distribution, and a donation from Litchfield resident Peter Tillou.”—Judy Benson, New London Day

“The story of Venture Smith's life is not only extraordinary but is one of the most improbable biographies of American history. This fascinating and highly readable book will allow many readers to view the complexity of American slavery and race relations.”David Brion Davis, author of Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World
—David Brion Davis, author of Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World

From the Book:

“The life of Venture Smith is the American story: African-American history is American history, made by Americans in America.”—from the foreword by James O. Horton, author of Slavery and the Making of America

Awards/Recognition:

Windsor Human Relations Commission Community Book of the Year (2010) Commendation


CHANDLER B. SAINT is president of the Beecher House Center for the Study of Equal Rights in Torrington, Connecticut.

GEORGE A. KRIMSKY is a journalist and author, also residing in Connecticut.

JAMES O. HORTON teaches history and American studies at George Washington University. The author of many books, he serves as a consultant to The History Channel, Discovery Channel, PBS, and ABC.



Sat, 15 Apr 2017 15:47:25 -0500