The Blind African Slave recounts the life of Jeffrey Brace (né Boyrereau Brinch), who was born in West Africa around 1742. Captured by slave traders at the age of sixteen, Brace was transported to Barbados, where he experienced the shock and trauma of slave-breaking and was sold to a New England ship captain. After fighting as an enslaved sailor for two years in the Seven Years War, Brace was taken to New Haven, Connecticut, and sold into slavery. After several years in New England, Brace enlisted in the Continental Army in hopes of winning his manumission. After five years of military service, he was honorably discharged and was freed from slavery. As a free man, he chose in 1784 to move to Vermont, the first state to make slavery illegal. There, he met and married an African woman, bought a farm, and raised a family. Although literate, he was blind when he decided to publish his life story, which he narrated to a white antislavery lawyer, Benjamin Prentiss, who published it in 1810. Upon his death in 1827, Brace was a well-respected abolitionist. In this first new edition since 1810, Kari J. Winter provides a historical introduction, annotations, and original documents that verify and supplement our knowledge of Brace's life and times.
The narrative, originally transcribed with commentary by Benjamin F. Prentiss, was published in 1810 by St. Albans, Vermont. The narrator tells of his capture, the perfidy of English slave traders, the horror of the Middle Passage, the brutality of slavery in New England, and the difficulties of free life in Vermont. Winter (American studies, State U. of New York-Buffalo) finds it odd that a story including memories of Africa and an account of an African American fighting in the US War of Independenceboth rarewould be so totally neglected for two centuries, but finds that until now, no one has done the research necessary to authenticate it. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
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Title: The Blind African Slave: Memoirs of Boyrereau Brinch, Nicknamed Jeffrey Brace
Author: Jeffrey Brace
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
Date Published: January 2005
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