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Local History

Discover the beautiful towns of Westerly, RI and Stonington, CT.

Community Voices: History in Balance Series (Zoom) | Venture Smith: Why Does His Life Matter?

Please join us for a virtual presentation on Venture Smith, and discover more about his life and legacy.

In 1798, Venture Smith, a formerly enslaved Black man, dictated his biography to a Connecticut school teacher.  Venture's narrative is one of the most complete pictures of life for enslaved persons in 18th-century Connecticut, illustrating how deeply embedded slavery was in the early prosperity of Stonington, Connecticut.  Venture's story is also the story of the triumph of family, of persistence, and of heroism.  Nancy Steenburg and Liz Kading have spent years researching the evidence of Venture's time in Stonington to fill out the details of his remarkable story, and they will present those findings in their talk.

Nancy Steenburg is a graduate of Harvard University, Trinity College, and the University of Connecticut. She has taught history at UConn Avery Point since 1996. Liz Kading is a graduate of UConn. She and Nancy have worked together for over 15 years, researching Venture Smith and other topics in local history.

Registration is required. Please register by Tuesday, April 6th. You will receive a Zoom invitation the morning of the program.

For questions, please contact Amanda at

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