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Making freedom : the extraordinary life of Venture Smith /
Chandler B. Saint and George A. Krimsky.
imprint
Middletown, Conn. : Wesleyan University Press, 2009.
description
xiii, 186 p.
ISBN
0819568546 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780819568540 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
added author
imprint
Middletown, Conn. : Wesleyan University Press, 2009.
isbn
0819568546 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780819568540 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
6783886
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2009-05-01:
Learning about the life of Venture Smith (1729-1805) gives readers insight into the all-too-often faceless world of American slaves and their pursuit of freedom. Smith bore witness to African and then American enslavement in New England, the tumultuous world of the American Revolution, and eventually freedom though self-emancipation. Driven by hard work and determination in the face of unremitting adversity, he persevered to become a prime example of the self-made man symbolic of American history. Smith's story was recorded by schoolteacher Elisha Niles, and a complete facsimile of that version is included in this slim but richly illustrated volume. Saint (president, Beecher House Ctr. for the Study of Equal Rights) and Krimsky (coauthor, Hold the Press: The Inside Story on Newspapers) admirably weave together their compelling narrative with recently uncovered clues about Smith's life in an effort to explicate Smith's remarkable and courageous story. The authors maintain that while the narrative of Olaudah Equiano's life contains much more detail, Smith's story gives readers a picture of a man who "most valued simplicity, frugality, and prudence." Highly recommended; this should become required reading in courses on early American history.-Brian Odom, Pelham P.L., AL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 2010-01-01:
Little is known about the lives of individual slaves in Colonial America, particularly those in the North. Thus, the story of Venture Smith is truly rare. Born into a noble family in Africa, Smith was captured as a boy and sold into slavery. He survived the Middle Passage and served several New England slave masters from 1739 until he purchased his freedom in 1765. As a free man, Smith bought the freedom of his wife and children and generally prospered as the owner of a farm by fishing and trading boats; he was truly a self-made man who earned respect in his Connecticut community. In 1798, when Smith was about 70, he dictated his autobiographic narrative to a local schoolteacher because he could not write himself. This is one of only a handful of autobiographies left by the many thousands of African slaves imported to America. It is a valuable resource for students and scholars interested in the realities of slavery in pre-Revolutionary New England. Includes a facsimile of the original 1798 Smith narrative, extensive notes and illustrations, a time line, and a good introduction. Useful as a source book for university libraries. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries. R. Detweiler California Polytechnic State University--San Luis Obispo
Reviews
Review Quotes
"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
"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 andFall of Slavery in the New World
"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 WorldR
This item was reviewed in:
PW Annex Reviews, March 2009
Library Journal, May 2009
Choice, January 2010
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
'Making Freedom' tells the story of Venture Smith, a New England slave who was sold into bondage as a boy in Africa and laboured for nearly a quarter-century before purchasing his own freedom and transforming himself into a highly respected American citizen.
Bowker Data Service Summary
This work tells the story of an 18th-century New England slave who emancipated himself. It is an exploration of the life of Venture Smith (1728-1805), a New England slave who was sold into bondage as a boy in Africa and laboured for nearly a quarter-century before purchasing his own freedom.
Main Description
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.
Main Description
Making Freedom is the first in-depth exploration of the life of Venture Smith (1728Ð1805), 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.
Table of Contents
Foreword
Introduction
The Early Years
The Crucible Years
The Transitional Years
The Final Years
Conclusion
Epilogue
Facsimile of Venture Smith's 1798 Narrative
Appendix
Time Line
Illustrations
Endnotes
Further Reading
Acknowledgments
Credits
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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