Elizabeth Freeman (a.k.a. Mumbat, Mum Bet), 1811

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This record was last updated on 17 Mar 2016

Image Reference

Original painting in the Massachusetts Historical Society

A miniature (approx. 2"x3") framed watercolor of face and upper torso. Born around 1742, it is unclear if Freemen was African, or born in New York state of African parents. She was purchased when young and became a servant in a Massachusetts household. After an incident of maltreatment, she left her owner and enlisted the aid of a Massachusetts antislavery lawyer, Thomas Sedgwick. He helped her win her freedom in 1772. She died in 1829 and was buried in a segregated section of the Stockbridge, Mass. graveyard. Her portrait was painted by Susan Sedgwick, Thomas's daughter. For biographical details on Freeman's life, see Harriet Martineau, Retrospect of Western Travel (New York, 1838), vol. 2, pp. 104-10. (Slide of painting courtesy of the Massachsetts Historical Society.)