Wench Betty was murdered in 1784. The subsequent court proceedings for her murder were held that year too. How does exploring her murder today provide insight into the lives of enslaved African Americans during the early American Republic? Often, the lives of enslaved people’s in this period are disregarded. This PSP session will educate participants about the state of slavery in New Jersey at the time of Wench Betty’s death and provide an opportunity to explore the powerful revolutionary war ideas of freedom and liberty at a time when slavery still existed in the state’s History. Through an examination of court documents and slave records, participants will more deeply understand more about Wench Betty’s life and all the ways it mattered.
Sue Kozel has spent her life addressing uncomfortable questions related to power and equality. In 2020, she will be a residential fellow with the International Center for Jefferson Studies. Sue received a 2009 Mini-Grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission on research on Quaker abolitionist Richard Waln. This grant led to several American and international conference presentations and the publication in her first co-edited book, Quakers and their Allies in the Abolitionist Cause, 1754-1808. She currently teaches at Kean University, Mercer County Community College, and William Paterson University at Mercer.
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