Sunday, April 10, 2016

Mumbet's Declaration of Independence


Mumbet's Declaration of Independence
By Gretchen Woelfle
Illustrated by Alex Delinois
Carolrhoda Books, 2014. Biography.

Mumbet was owned by Colonel John Ashley, the richest man in the county, and his wife, who was unkind to Mumbet and her daughter. Mumbet dreamed of one day to free. One night, community leaders gathered at the Ashley home to discuss the taxes and laws the British were forcing on the American people. The men discussed how they were taking away their rights and making them slaves. While at the meeting, a young lawyer, Mr. Sedgwick, wrote down Colonel Ashley’s words asserting that mankind were born to be free and independent—words that later became the new Massachusetts Constitution. Mumbet was inspired by this new law and approached Mr. Sedgwick to help her take her case to court to declare her freedom.

This is a great biography to listen/read to with children to introduce the subject of slavery. It doesn’t shy away from the treatment of slaves but it focuses more on one woman’s determination of freedom. The author note at the end shares more of what happened to Mumbet after she was granted her freedom and where you can find more information about this remarkable woman.

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