Venture Smith and Adoption

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Smith was born in Guinea, West Africa, but captured and sent to Rhode Island as a slave when he was about eight.

He bought his own freedom when he was 37 and spent most of the rest of his life earning the money to buy the freedom of his wife, three children and three other slaves. He became a landowner, with three houses, 100 acres and 20 boats, and was famous for his great physical strength.

He had no education at all and had to dictate his autobiography to a schoolmaster. This landmark volume contains a wealth of detail remembered about his early life in Africa, his life as a slave and his quest for human dignity in the face of social and legal racism.


Smith, Venture. A Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Venture, A Native of Africa .... (Middletown: J.S. Stewart, 1897). Extracts also available as part of "Excerpts from Slave Narratives," edited by Steven Mintz. Available at: Zagoren, Ruby. Venture for Freedom: The True Story of an African Yankee. (Cleveland: World Pub. Co., 1969) Oxford Companion to African American Literature, edited by William L. Andrews, Frances Smith and Trudier Harris. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997) Daley, Bill. "Venture Smith, 1720-1805." Formerly available at: