Lecture: ""Espionage and Enslavement in the Revolution"

03/16/2022 07:00 PM - 08:30 PM ET


"Espionage and Enslavement in the Revolution: The True Story of Robert Townsend and Elizabeth"

Wednesday, March 16, 2022 | 7:00 PM

Virtual Via Zoom

$7/person | HRMM Members FREE

Join Claire Bellerjeau for a talk about her new book, “Espionage and Enslavement in the Revolution: The True Story of Robert Townsend and Elizabeth” and discover the story of Elizabeth, or Liss, enslaved by the Townsend family whose son Robert was Washington's spy in Manhattan as part of the Culper Spy Ring. As Robert and Elizabeth’s story unfolds, prominent figures from history cross their path, including Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Jupiter Hammon, Benedict Arnold, John André, and John Adams, as well as participants in the Boston Massacre, the Sons of Liberty, the Battle of Long Island, Franklin’s Paris negotiations, and the Benedict Arnold treason plot. Her escape with the British, re-enslavement, and struggle for freedom gives a new perspective to the country's founding, from the point of view of an enslaved Black woman seeking personal liberty in a country fighting for its own.

Speaker Bio:

Claire Bellerjeau is the author of "Espionage and Enslavement in the Revolution: The True Story of Robert Townsend and Elizabeth". Until recently she served as historian and director of education at Raynham Hall Museum in Oyster Bay, New York, and has been researching the Townsend family and those they enslaved for over sixteen years, including curating a yearlong exhibit on the Townsend “Slave Bible” in 2005. In 2015, during a research visit to the New York Historical Society, she discovered what may be one of the earliest poems ever written by Jupiter Hammon, America’s first published African American writer. She has developed educational programs about slavery in Oyster Bay and is currently establishing a non-profit organization called Remember Liss, developing new programs to educate students and the community about the life and times of Liss.

Program information:

This program is being presented  virtually via Zoom. You will receive the link to the Zoom meeting in your registration confirmation email. Please save that email to access the virtual lecture.

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