“Above all, it is my anxious wish that this simple narrative may be the means of opening the hearts of those who hold slaves and move them to consent to give them the freedom which they themselves enjoy, and which all mankind have an equal right to possess.”
– Jeffrey Brace
Born in west Africa around 1742, Jeffrey Brace was captured by slave traders at sixteen and shipped to Barbados, where he was sold to a New England ship captain. Throughout his life, Brace was sold multiple times, fought in the Seven Years War, and served in the Continental Army. In 1784 he moved to Vermont, the first state to make slavery illegal. Although some see the state of Vermont as “ahead of its time,” Brace underwent constant harassment and and more. Although literate, he was blind when he narrated his life story to anti-slavery lawyer Benjamin Prentiss. Brace died in 1827, a well-respected abolitionist with legendary powers of memory.
Edited by Kari J. Winter, an associate professor of American Studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo. She is the author of Subjects of Slavery, Agents of Change: Women and Power in Gothic Novels and Slave Narratives, 1790-1865.
Published by The University of Wisconsin Press