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In August 1781, the case of Brom and Bett vs. Ashley went to the jury. The year before, Mum Bett, a slave in the Ashley house since 1742, was struck by her mistress. Mum Bett left the house and refused to return. Bett had overheard conversations about the new Massachusetts constitution that included the clause, "All men are created equal" and argued that the clause applied to her. When the jury agreed, slavery was effectively abolished in the state of Massachusetts. Mum Bett took the name of Elizabeth Freeman and went to work in the employ of her lawyer. (More inside)
posted by forrest on Aug 10, 2007 - 34 comments

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