In 1781, Elizabeth “Mum Bett” 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. Mum Bett’s case was instrumental in forcing the Commonwealth to carry out its own constitution.
Mum Bett was born about 1744 in New York. She and her younger sister, Lizzie, were sold to Colonel John Ashley.
One day, Annetje Hogeboom, the wife of John Ashley, raised a heated shovel to strike Lizzie, and instead, hit Mum Bett, who was protecting her with her arm. The hit left a bad wound that Mum Bett refused to cover, to give proof to conditions on the plantation. As a result, Mum Bett hired a lawyer, Theodore Sedgwick, to gain her freedom. A male slave named Brom was added to give light to the case during a time when women’s rights were unheard. The Brom and Bett vs. Ashley trial took place in August 1781 at the County Court of Common Pleas in Great Barrington. Both slaves won their freedom and Elizabeth “Mum Bett” Freeman agreed to work for the Sedgwicks’ indefinitely.
Mum Bett Freeman would become known as a popular healer, midwife and a nurse. Her story was shared by author, Catherine Sedgwick, Theodore’s wife, and passed down through generations. Mum Bett and her daughter Betsy retired in Stockbridge until her death in 1829. She was buried in the Sedgwick family plot.
Ironically, Theodore Sedgwick is the 4th great grandfather of actress Kyra Sedgwick, star of the television show, “The Closer” which aired on the TNT newtork. The connection was found via the PBS show “Finding Our Roots,” with Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. and is now retold in his latest presentation “The African Americans” now airing on PBS.
There is currently an effort underway to immortalize the legacy of Elizabeth “Mum Bett” Freeman on a U.S. Postal Stamp.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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