VENTURE SMITH's 1798 Autobiography

​       On Haddam Neck, in 1798 VENTURE SMITH dictated his life story, one of the first works of African American literature, to a family member. He first recounted his birth, capture, enslavement in Africa, and the Middle Passage, stories he had told for years, then related events from his life in America. The Project believes a son, probably Solomon, organized the pamphlet and wrote the Prologue, to honor this father, and to preserve Venture’s legacy.
      Edward Smith, the son of
VENTUREs last owner, Col. Oliver Smith, who Venture and Solomon did business with, helped prepare the Certificate. It is signed by five prominent men of Stonington, Connecticut who had known Venture for more than 25 years. The draft was then taken to The Bee (New London, Connecticut) for printing.              
       This is an entirely African American literary voice, a treasured document, written, recorded, edited, and printing paid for by African Americans in the 18th c..  

Listen to Robert L. Hall and Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro reading the Narrative:

CD Cover Nar B.jpg
Narrative Chapter I - Venture Smith
00:00 / 00:00
Narrative Chapter II - Venture Smith
00:00 / 00:00
Narrative Chapter III - Venture Smith
00:00 / 00:00
Narrative p1.png
Narative2-3.png
Narrative 4-5.png
Narrative 6.7.png
Narrative 8-9.png
Narrative 10-11.png
Narrative 12-13.png
Narrative 14-15.png
Narrative 16-17.png
Narrative 18-19.png
Narrative 20-21.png
Narrative 22-23.png
Narrative 24-25.png
Narrative 26-27.png
Narrative 28-29.png
Narrative 30-31.png
Narrative p32.png
Narrative Reset2.gif