Pre-Civil War African American Family Made A Home in New England

You’re about to hear the story of a pre-Civil War African American family. Lucy Terry grew up in Deerfield, Massachusetts in the 1720s. She was a slave and is considered the first known African-American poet. Abijah Prince was a slave and a veteran of the French and Indian Wars. When he gained his freedom, he went to Deerfield and married Lucy. They started a family and became land owners in Massachusetts and Vermont. But neighboring land owners who were white tried to drive them away. Lucy argued her case before Vermont’s Supreme Court — and won. Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina — the English department chair at Dartmouth College — has spent more than seven years researching the lives of Lucy and Abijah Prince. Gerzina says says she first became interested in their story after she and her husband moved to Guilford, Vermont.