one house, five families, 200 years of history

Voices of Liberty

As colonists fought a war of independence from Britain, Chance and other enslaved people in New England were listening to white patriots’ words of liberty and some were speaking out themselves.

“I need not point out the absurdity of your exertions for liberty, while you have slaves in your houses.”

—Caesar Sarter, freed black writer, Essex, Massachusetts, newspaper essay, 1774

“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own.”

—Capt. Abraham Dodge’s military order book, 1776

“Judge Ye Weather or noe I hadent ort to Be set at Liberty.”

—Enslaved woman Juno Larcom, remarks to judge and jury, Beverly, Massachusetts, 1774

“I am . . . a daughter of liberty.”

—Anna Winslow, Boston schoolgirl, age 12, 1772