Lucy Terry Prince

Abijah Prince Road

Shanta Lee Gander as Lucy Terry Prince in Bars Fight.

The first known African American poet was a former slave who lived in Guilford.


Lucy Terry Prince (1730 – 1821) is the first known African American poet. Lucy was a former slave, brought to America from Africa as a young child, she was a powerful storyteller, and became an eloquent advocate for equal treatment under the law. She lived with her husband, Abijah Prince, and their children, in Guilford, Vermont.




Amy Beecher
Curatorial Team
Jerry Carbone
Sandy Rouse
Lissa Weinmann
Sarah Kovach
Jerry Stockman

Shanta Lee Gander
Moon Livingston


Fall 2017

On The Map

Abijah Prince Road is located in Guilford, Vermont.

Abijah Prince Road

What is MILES

& Lucy Speaks?


The Mobile, Interactive, Literary Exhibition Space is a mini, mobile museum, providing an immersive experience, housed within a customized, 7×16′ cargo trailer.

“Lucy Speaks,” was a museum-quality exhibit designed by Amy Beecher, debuting at the 16th-annual Brattleboro Literary Festival on Saturday and Sunday, October 14 and 15, 2017, created by and for the Words Project.

On the Radio

Shanta Lee Gander and Stephanie Greene discuss MILES and Lucy Speaks on Green Mountain Mornings with Olga Peters.
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This innovative, mobile exhibit celebrated the life of Lucy Terry Prince, a former slave; an eloquent advocate for equal treatment under the law and the first known African American poet.

The exhibit featured a dramatic reading by Shanta Lee Gander and a dance performance by Moon Livingston.

After its star-turn at the Literary Festival, MILES and Lucy Speaks went on tour throughout Southern Vermont in the fall of 2017. 

Brooks Library Talk

Storyteller/writer Shanta Lee Gander spoke about rights, witness and voice through the lens of Lucy Terry Prince’s life.
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Bars Fight

Shanta Lee Gander’s dramatic portrayal of Lucy Terry Prince’s most famous poem.

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A Notion

The “Lucy Speaks” MILES exhibit was conceived by the Brattleboro Literary Festival and The Downtown Brattleboro Alliance, which won a $2,500 National Main Street grant from Edward Jones. Ana Saaveda organized the local Edward Jones offices to contribute and so did the Sunrise Rotary Club for MILES’s later use on Flat Street.

Marlboro College Art Professor Amy Beecher curated and designed the exhibit with Curatorial team Jerry Carbone, Sandy Rouse, Lissa Weinmann and Sarah Kovach. “Lucy’s story and the whole Words Project are inspiring Marlboro College students to become actively engaged in Brattleboro as an incredibly rich learning environment,” MILES curator Amy Beecher said.

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In the News

MILES: Placemaking Goes Mobile in Downtown Brattleboro

MILES: Placemaking Goes Mobile in Downtown Brattleboro

In Downtown BrattleboroPlacemaking Goes MobileAt the crack of dawn on a Friday morning, a trailer rolls down the street and maneuvers into a parking spot in the middle of Brattleboro’s Main Street. The sides of the unassuming trailer, proclaimed: “Lucy Speaks” and...

What We Must Learn from Lucy Terry Prince

What We Must Learn from Lucy Terry Prince

February 16, 2018 by Shanta Lee Gander | from the Ms. Magazine Blog 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...

LUCY SPEAKS: a mobile pop-up exhibition

October 14, 2017 @ 10:00 am - October 15, 2017 @ 1:00 pm “Lucy Speaks: Remembering early Brattleboro-area resident, Lucy Terry Prince, the first known African American poet, former slave, and eloquent advocate for equal treatment under the law,” debuts at...

August, twas the twenty-fifth, Seventeen hundred forty-six,
The Indians did in ambush lay, Some very valiant men to slay…

– Lucy Terry Prince, Bars Fight


Brattleboro-based storyteller and writer Shanta Lee will perform the Lucy Terry’s only extant poem “Bars Fight” on the hour on Saturday, October 14th, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday October, 15th at 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. engaging audiences in a dialogue on Lucy.

Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina, scholar and author of Mr. and Mrs. Prince: How an Extraordinary Eighteenth Century Family Moved Out of Slavery and into Legend, inspired much of the exhibit and she will be a featured speaker at the festival from 9:30 am-10:45 am on Saturday, October 14th, at the Centre Congregational Church. She will be reading with Wendy Warren, author of New England Bound: Slavery and Colonization in Early America, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.