NSRTC Black History Month Tributes

This post expresses the views and opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily that of The North Salem Post management or staff.

The North Salem Republican Town Committee celebrates and honors Black History month.  African-American history is American history.  Elizabeth Freeman (born Mum Bett, around 1742), was an enslaved black woman born in New York and sold to slave owners in Massachussets along with her sister.  After serving in slavery for decades, and after having her husband die in the Revolutionary War, she petioned the Massachussetts Court through a sympathetic lawyer for her freedom.  She argued, that if all people were born free and equal as stated in the Massachussetts State Constitution, then the laws must apply to her too.  Mum Bett and another slave in the lawsuit became the first African-Americans to successfully file a "freedom suit" in Massachussetts and freed, which eventually led to the abolition of slavery in Massachussets.  She chose the last name Freeman, because she was now a free woman, able to live free, and died in 1829 surrounded by her children and grandchildren.  Her legacy endured, as she also became the great-grandmother of another iconic black history figure W.E.B. DuBois, co-founder of the NAACP (  Learn more about Elizabeth Freeman on PBS's Africans in America series Part 2, at

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