In 1781, Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman became the first African-American woman to win her freedom from slavery through a court of law. The case was held in Massachusetts, which coincidentally, became the first state in the Union to abolish slavery; many say that Mumbet’s case is the reason.

One day, Hannah Ashley, a white woman and Mumbet's owner, raised a heated shovel to strike either Mumbet's daughter or her sister Lizzy, and instead, hit Mumbet, who was protecting her. The hit left a bad wound that Mumbet refused to cover, in order to show everyone how terrible the treatment was on the plantation.

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