This is not the usual Black History Month story that is retold about African Americans as victims who needed rescuing. This is about a woman who was an orator, activist, mother, landowner and poet who used her voice in a time that may not been favorable for her to do such a thing. This is the story of a freed landowning slave woman from the 1700’s that has become an ever-more-timely instruction for all of us about the power of voice, the human imperative to witness and the reminder that we all must address injustice even when the stakes are high.

Lucy Terry Prince by Louise Minks / (c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA.


I was introduced to Lucy Terry Prince through a series of conversations with a friend and her direct invitation for me to become involved with the project Peoples, Places and the History of Words. This project involves several community partners and is a part of a four-year National Endowment for the Humanities grant that encourages a re-engagement with the literary history of Brattleboro, Vermont, especially through some of the lesser known voices that helped to shape it.

Continue reading Shanta’s article at Ms.