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The Search for Lucy: Uncovering the Captive African History of Western New England

Author(s): Elena Sesma

Year: 2014

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In 1752, there were 25 Captive Africans living on the mile-long main street of Deerfield, a small village in present day Western Massachusetts. Slavery in Deerfield was by no means unusual, but in the heart of what many consider abolitionist territory, it seems shocking that English colonists bought and sold human beings in much the same way as their southern counterparts. Lucy Terry Prince, an African woman brought to America as a child, would become a legend in Deerfield Village, but despite decades of captivity, followed by freedom, raising a family, moving to Vermont and owning property with her husband prior to the American Revolution, her story is neglected by centuries of physical erasure from the landscape and archives and the general whitewashing of New England history. This paper examines the importance of the Prince family and the hundreds of forgotten Captive Africans in Western New England and highlights why their stories matter.

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The Search for Lucy: Uncovering the Captive African History of Western New England. Elena Sesma. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 436919)

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-37,11

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America