Land and Liberty in the Life of Venture Smith

Mapping real-estate transactions of an 18th-century entrepreneur and formerly enslaved man

As an undergraduate at Pomona College, I began researching Venture Smith in the summer of 2006. A resident of 18th-century Connecticut, Venture Smith dictated a famous narrative that detailed his life as a former enslaved man in New England. My project focused on the role of land during his time as a free man by charting and mapping his real estate purchases over the final three decades of his life. My research can be found in an essay “‘Owned by Negro Venture’: Land and Liberty in the Life of Venture Smith” that appears in the edited volume Venture Smith and the Business of Slavery and Freedom.