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The 1784 Murder of an Enslaved Woman in Monmouth County
March 17, 2021 @ 7:30 pm
Navesink Maritime Heritage Association Presents Talk with Sue Kozel:“Why Wench Betty’s Story Matters: The 1784 Murder of an Enslaved Woman in Monmouth County”RED BANK, NJ -The gripping story of “Wench” Betty, an enslaved woman who defied her owner’s commands and lost her life to his violent retaliation, is the focus of a talk by historian Sue Kozel on March 17, 2021, from 7:30-8:30 PM. Presented virtually by the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association in recognition of Women’s History Month, Kozel’s talk will explore this remarkable story and its implications for local history.Using court documents and slaveowners’ records, Kozel will lead an interactive lecture/discussion looking at race, gender, and power at the end of the Revolutionary War – a time when powerful New Jerseyans were pulled between ideas of freedom and liberty and the cruel realities of legalized slavery.“My interest is in resurrecting Betty’s story, and not having her only remembered in her death,” Kozel says. “It’s important to shine a light on stories like hers, and discuss how we create a full and accurate history of all of the people who lived in our county. In the telling of history, every life matters ”The talk will build a fuller picture of the lives of people enslaved in Monmouth County – lives that often go overlooked because slave records did not always include complete details. Kozel will relate how her research pieces together nearly-lost narratives. “Women’s History Month gives us a time to look at stories that get lost, beyond the great men and the fifes and drums of the Revolution,” Kozel says. “By shining a light on Betty, we can ask “How does one life matter in the course of our history in New Jersey, and in our national story?”Kozel’s scholarly work often deals with freedom, abolition, and slavery. Designated as a Public Scholar by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, she has published numerous works on Black freedom, abolitionism, and American and New Jersey History. Recently retired from teaching university and community college history. She has been selected for a 2021 residential fellowship at the International Center for Jefferson Studies, located near Monticello, one of Thomas Jefferson’s slave plantations.TO