Elizabeth Freeman, the Massachusetts Slave: The Woman Who Sued for Her Freedom

Thursday, May 167:00—8:00 PMMeeting Room AShrewsbury Public Library609 Main Street, Shrewsbury, MA, 01545
Meeting Room BShrewsbury Public Library609 Main Street, Shrewsbury, MA, 01545

Elizabeth Freeman is a little-known national hero, and a symbol of courage and spirit to all who cherish freedom. She was among the first slaves in Massachusetts to sue for and win her freedom.

During the Revolutionary War, she heard the Massachusetts Constitution read aloud, and heard these words:

                     “All men are born free and equal….”

Freeman recognized the potential legal and moral significance of these words and sought out an attorney to sue for her freedom under the newly-ratified state constitution. With the help of an attorney who was an abolitionist, she pled her case for freedom in a western Massachusetts court.

The jury ruled in her favor and she became the first African-American woman set free under the Massachusetts constitution. Her case helped end slavery in Massachusetts.

Justice Dennis J. Curran (ret.) served as a Massachusetts trial judge for 15 years. He is a graduate of Boston Latin School, the University of Pennsylvania (B.A. and M.A.) and the University of Virginia School of Law.

Sponsored by the Shrewsbury Public Library

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