The Charters of Freedom - A New World is at Hand close this image window and return to the  exhibit
Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman, watercolor (reproduction) by Susan Anne Livingston Ridley Sedgwick, 1811

In states where slaves were considered as persons before the law, they sued for, and sometimes won, their freedom in the courts. Elizabeth Freeman achieved freedom after petitioning the State of Massachusetts in 1781. "Anytime while I was a slave," she said, "if one minute's freedom had been offered to me, and I had been told I must die at the end of that minute, I would have taken it-just to stand one minute . . . on God's airth a free woman. I would."

Courtesy Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston

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