Lucy Terry Prince

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by RyanDeClark
Last updated 4 years ago

Social Studies
African-American History

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Lucy Terry Prince


Lucy Terry Prince

"Bars Fight"

About the Author

Lucy Terry Prince was born in Rhode Island in 1730 and as an infant was stole and brought to Rhode Island to become a slave. She then stayed there until she was five, where she was sold and later owned by Ebenezer Wells. In 1756, she became a free woman in the state of Massachussetts. Her ballad called "Bar Fight" is considered to be the oldest known work of literature by an African American.

More About Her A courageous, eloquent activist, Prince worked hard not only to survive economically but also to protect her family from racist harassment and vandalism. She agitated, unsuccessfully, for her oldest son to be admitted to Williams College. Widowed in 1794, Lucy Terry Prince moved to Sunderland, Vermont, where she died in 1821. Lemuel Haynes preached an antislavery sermon at her funeral in which he predicted that despots and racists, “tyrants and oppressors,” would “sink beneath” Terry’s “feet,” a witty reference to her poetry.



August ’twas the twenty-fifth,Seventeen hundred forty-six;The Indians did in ambush lay,Some very valiant men to slay,The names of whom I’ll not leave out.Samuel Allen like a hero fout,And though he was so brave and bold,His face no more shalt we beholdEteazer Hawks was killed outright,Before he had time to fight, –Before he did the Indians see,Was shot and killed immediately.Oliver Amsden he was slain,Which caused his friends much grief and pain.Simeon Amsden they found dead,Not many rods distant from his head.Adonijah Gillett we do hearDid lose his life which was so dear.John Sadler fled across the water,And thus escaped the dreadful slaughter.Eunice Allen see the Indians coming,And hopes to save herself by running,And had not her petticoats stopped her,The awful creatures had not catched her,Nor tommy hawked her on the head,And left her on the ground for dead.Young Samuel Allen, Oh lack-a-day!Was taken and carried to Canada.

Family and FreedomLucy remained with the household until 1756, when she married Abijah Prince, a free black man. Lucy was promptly emancipated as well, though it's not certain if her new husband purchased her freedom from the Wells or if the family simply relinquished her from servitude.In her new life, Lucy Terry Prince settled with her husband in Guilford, Vermont, eventually having six children. Two of the Prince progeny, Cesar and Festus, are believed to have fought in the Revolutionary War. Prince had also unsuccessfully petitioned for at least one of her children to attend Williams College, giving a speech to representatives that was said to have lasted for three hours.


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