Before Your Time

Princes and Free Men

December 19, 2019

It’s well-known that Vermont is one of the whitest states in the Union. And so the stories of African American Vermonters can sometimes get forgotten, no matter how important they have been to our state’s and our nation’s history.

In this episode we examine the lives of several influential African American Vermonters who lived in our state before the Civil War. In two cases, before Vermont was even a state.

We learn about Lucy Terry Prince, who created the oldest known work of literature written by an African American; Alexander Twilight, the first person of African descent to receive a college degree in the United States, who educated almost 2500 students during his tenure at the Orleans County Grammar School; and Martin Freeman, an educator from Rutland who moved to Liberia because he couldn't achieve the same rights and privileges as his white peers.