BY: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare
Elizabeth Freeman (also known as Bett or Mumbett), was born a slave in 1744 in colonial America ( Claverack, Province of New York).
As a young child-slave at her master John Ashley’s house in Massachusetts , Freeman would sometimes overhear discussions about possible American freedom from the British. Those discussions combined with her own desire to be free, gave Freeman even more inspiration to run away from her brutal masters.
When the American Revolutionary War was finally won by America, Freeman believed that she should also be free. Freeman and her abolitionist lawyer Theodore Sedgwick, would sue the Ashley family for her freedom.
In 1781, the case would go to trial and eventually, the Massachusetts supreme court would side with Freeman, claiming slavery was against the Massachusetts Constitution. That decision would Utimately, end slavery in the state of Massachusetts altogether. Freeman would be awarded 30 shillings as compensation for her labor.
All men are born free and equal, and have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.
– Massachusetts Constitution, Article 1.
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