Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Today in Black History: The African Poetess

Lucy Terry Prince (c.1730-1821) was born in West Africa around the year 1730.  Lucy was stolen from West Africa as an infant and brought to the British Colonies (United States today) where she was owned by Ebenezer and Abigail (Barnard) Wells of Deerfield, Massachusetts;  she was five years of age.   In 1756, Lucy was joined in marriage to a free African American name, Abijah Prince.  Lucy and her husband lived for a time in a house built on the Wells' land at the eastern end of the property.  There are some scholars who believe that Lucy's husband, Abijah Prince, purhased her freedom in 1756.  Nevertheless, the young couple left the Wells home and settled in Vermont.  God blessed them with six children.

Lucy Terry is credited with being the author of the poem, "The Bars Fight," describing the last Indian attack on residents of Deerfield on August 25, 1746. "The Bars Fight,” is the earliest known work of literature written by an African in America. The poem was first published in 1855 in Josiah Holland's, History of Western Massachusetts.  Please visit this link to read "The Bars Fight" and to learn more about the life of The African Poetess, Lucy Prince Terry.  

Photo and information source:,, wikipedia, and
Book on Subject:
Lucy Terry Prince, Singer of History: A Brief Biography


Taabia said...


Taabia said...

Very interesting though, that she spoke about the Indians in such a savage format. I wonder if that was why she was published?

Stephen Bess said...

I felt the same way. It sounds as if she bought into the public feeling of Indians during that time. However, many of the Africans who escaped slavery often ran to the Indians for shelter. Thanks, Taabia. :D

Kaya said...

Her artistry is commendable, even though her perceptions are a bit jaded or maybe influenced by her immediate environment. However, I too wonder if she was writing for a specific audience. Is this a case of antebellum commercialism? Thanks Stephen, I am enjoying Ourstory.....

Stephen Bess said...

Kaya, thanks for the comment. I love that term, "antebellum commercialism." :D We must continue to tell Ourstory. Stay blessed brother.