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Venture Smith: The Legacy

His History: At age six, an enemy tribe attacked Broteer Furro and his village in present-day Guinea. The attackers murdered his father and then kidnapped Broteer and the remaining survivors. Afterwards, they were sold into slavery and brought to New England. Upon arrival, Broteer's name was changed to Venture and he began his long struggle for freedom against the powerful American institution of slavery. Venture spent over thirty years in slavery and had three different owners before he was able to buy his freedom for 71 pounds and two shillings. After securing his liberty, Venture settled in Haddam Neck and

purchased over 100 acres of land and began several fishing, trading and timbering enterprises.

Here’s an excerpt from A Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Venture, a Native of Africa: But Resident above Sixty Years in the United States of America, Related by Himself

Saint, Chandler B., and George A. Krimsky, Making Freedom: The Extraordinary Life of Venture Smith

where Venture describes his journey to freedom in his own words

 

 

Why Venture Smith is a significant figure In Haddam history:

Venture Smith’s tale of hard work, tenacity and ingenuity makes him a role model for Haddam and its citizens. He is a portrait of a self-made man who overcame adversity, established himself as a successful mariner-merchant-farmer and earned the respect of his neighbors and associates, black and white alike. In the Anglo-dominated 18 th century, it was an unusual feat for a slave to secure his freedom and then be a successful member of a predominantly white society. Venture’s life story is impressive considering its historical context: Venture lived in a pre-Civil War, pre-Civil rights

Saint, Chandler B., and George A. Krimsky, Making Freedom: The Extraordinary Life of Venture Smith

movement era where the institution of slavery was a keystone of the American economy. He was,

however, a young man during the American Revolution at a time when the colonies were declaring their freedom from the oppressive Britain and asserting in the Declaration of Independence, “that all

men are created equal.” Ironically, that philosophy did not apply to Venture. In their book, Making Freedom: The Extraordinary Life of Venture Smith, Chandler Saint and George Krimsky note that it is remarkable that Venture was able to become a respected American and succeed in a world that he was not meant to succeed in.

Even more notable is, instead of becoming bitter over the murder of his father and the robbing of his birthright to royalty, Venture remained steadfast in his strong moral character. In 2007, the British Broadcasting Corporation described Venture “as an American role model, exemplifying kindness, integrity, honesty and perseverance.”

Venture’s life story not only enriches Haddam’s history but American history and the nation’s understanding of slavery in New England. In the 20 th century and earlier, local histories and accounts were typically written by white, upper class, Anglo-Protestant males. Venture’s story is one of the few narratives that provide insight on slavery in colonial in New England from the perspective of a slave

Saint, Chandler B., and George A. Krimsky, Making Freedom: The Extraordinary Life of Venture Smith

 



         


 
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