Meet Lucy Terry: The country’s first African American Poet

Mass Appeal

(Mass Appeal) – Ray Radigan, curator of the Memorial Hall Museum, joined us in honor of Hidden History Month to share with us the story of Lucy Terry.

Terry was brought as a slave to Rhode Island before she was sold to Ebenezer Wells of Deerfield when she was five. Her life in Deerfield inspired her work and her poem, a ballad called “Bars Fight”, which was inspired by a Native American attack in the area.

Terry became a free woman and lived in Vermont with her family, which included six children. In addition to her poetry, she also successfully negotiated a land case before the Supreme Court in the 1790s. She was the first woman to argue before the high court.

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