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HomeNews100 Years Ago/HistoryHHS Donates Venture Smith Books to HK Intermediate School

HHS Donates Venture Smith Books to HK Intermediate School

Submitted by Elizabeth Malloy, Executive Director, Haddam Historical Society

(January 31, 2023) — The Haddam Historical Society recently donated 75 copies of Venture Smith’s Colonial Connecticut to the 5th grade class at Haddam-Killingworth Intermediate School to be used in the classroom with their studies of Colonial Connecticut.

The story of Venture Smith, a slave who was able to buy his freedom and the freedom of his family, is the tale of hard work, tenacity and ingenuity but also heartache, injustice and racism. Captured as a child in Africa, he was sold into slavery at the age of 6 and spent the next 30 years living and working for masters in New York, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

In 1765 he purchased his freedom and in due course the freedom of his wife and children. By 1775 he had saved enough money to buy land in Haddam Neck and became successful in farming, fishing, and trading, eventually owning more than 100 acres, multiple boats and three houses. One of the most fascinating aspects of Venture is that he shared his life’s story in A Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Venture, a Native of Africa, which was published in 1798 almost seven years before his death. This account offers a first-person account of the life of an enslaved African and is a testament to his remarkable life.

The Haddam Historical Society is pleased to share the important story of Venture Smith, one of Haddam’s most notable citizens, with the students of Regional School District #17.

Above photo: L to R Tracy Papa, 5th Grade Teacher, Serenity Carlson, Jack Courchesne, Hailey Goodmaster, Jennifer Beermuender, HK Curriculum Coordinator for Language Arts and Social Studies, Terry Smith, Haddam Historical Society President, and Sarah Neal, Haddam Historical Society Education Coordinator.

Photo by Elizabeth Malloy

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