Venture Smith’s Colonial Connecticut is a fantastic classroom resource for middle-school students. Venture’s story is both exciting and engaging, and this book makes it accessible for middle-school students across the state. I teach a local history class on Venture Smith at Stonington High School. High school students are entranced and engaged by Venture’s life story, and they love the way it is interwoven into their local history. Venture Smith’s Colonial Connecticut makes this same connection available to all middle school students in Connecticut. I highly recommend it.
A social studies and language arts resource for fifth to eighth graders
Students learn about Connecticut's founding through the real life of Venture Smith
In this true story of freedom first published in 1798, Venture Smith tells students about his capture as a boy in West Africa, survival of the Middle Passage, and dramatic quest to free himself from slavery to become a successful farmer, fisherman, and trader in the American Revolutionary era.
“Venture Smith’s Colonial Connecticut provides teachers and students alike with a riveting, first-hand account of what life was really like for a person of color in colonial Connecticut. It delivers an alternative perspective of American history other than the traditional upper class, white male viewpoint so prevalent in our 19th century town histories. Venture Smith is a role model for all Americans, and this book should be read not only by middle school students and their teachers, but by everyone.” Lucianne Lavin, Ph.D., Institute for American Indian Studies, Washington, Connecticut, director of archaeological excavations at The Venture Smith Archaeological Site in Haddam Neck, Connecticut, and co-author of The Venture Smith Homestead
ELA - Two types of non-fiction text including Smith's first person narrative published in 1798
Social Studies - Designed for the State of Connecticut Social Studies Frameworks for grade 5, "Early United States History"
Local history - Uses a true Connecticut story to illustrate national themes
Diverse Perspectives - Integrates African American and Native American history into the story of the founding of Connecticut
Available to Educators in Two Forms
- Low-cost 3-year classroom license that eliminates the hassle of annual renewal and submitting a head count. Includes:
- 108-page online book with 27 illustrations, maps, and charts; glossary, and bibliography
- Curriculum Guide--Inquiry-based lesson plan
- Primary source library to support student inquiry projects
- Discounted print copies
- Use Subscribe Now button above right to subscribe or get a 7-day free trial to review the entire site
- Low-cost print copies in any quantity
- 108-page book with 27 illustrations, maps, and charts; glossary, and bibliography
- Free curriculum guide with purchase of 20 copies or more
- Online primary source library to support student inquiry projects
- Click HERE
Available to the public, too! Click HERE to buy a print copy
Message to Teachers
Part I: Meet Venture
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: I was Born at Dukandarra
Chapter 3: War Comes to My Home
Chapter 4: Far From Home
Part II: Venture in Colonial America
Chapter 5: Venture Comes of Age
Chapter 6: Venture Gets Married & Runs Away
Chapter 7: A New Owner
Chapter 8: Venture’s Third Master Rents Him Out
Chapter 9: Venture Buys His Freedom
Chapter 10: Free at Last
Chapter 11: Venture Purchases Meg’s Freedom
Chapter 12: 100 Acres in Connecticut
Chapter 13: Calling Out Cheats and Counting Blessings
Chapter 14: Historians Fill in the Blanks
Part III: Colonial Connecticut
Chapter 15: Connecticut’s Beginnings
Chapter 16: Building a Puritan Colony
Chapter 17: Growing Pains
Chapter 18: The Colonial Economy
PART IV: Slavery in Colonial Connecticut
Chapter 19: Slavery in Colonial Connecticut
Chapter 20: Laws About Slavery
Chapter 21: Slavery and the American Revolution
Chapter 22: The End of Slavery in Connecticut
Chapter 23: Why Venture’s Story is Important
Professional development: We'll come to your school to familiarize teachers with the resource and strategies for teaching difficult history. A fee is charged.
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About the Publisher
Venture Smith's Colonial Connecticut is published by Connecticut Explored Inc. and written by Elizabeth J. Normen, publisher of Connecticut Explored, Inc., a nonprofit organization founded in 2012. Normen was named the Bruce Fraser Friend of the Social Studies in 2017 by the Connecticut Council for the Social Studies for Where I Live: Connecticut, the social studies resource for third/fourth grade. Connecticut Explored Inc. publishes:
Connecticut Explored, a quarterly magazine for a public history audience. Find free articles from past issues on ctexplored.org. For more information about Connecticut Explored, and to subscribe at the educator's discount, visit ctexplored.org/teach.
Grating the Nutmeg, the podcast of Connecticut history produced in collaboration with the state historian. Listen to the free podcasts at Gratingthenutmeg.libsyn.com.
Where I Live: Connecticut, the social studies resource for third/fourth grade. Where I Live: Connecticut launched in fall 2017 and has been adopted by more than 75 school districts in Connecticut. Free access to the 80-page e-book and more than 80 pages of additional content written at grade level is available at whereilivect.org. Print copies are available for $8 each or $136 for a class pack of 25 copies at https://whereilivect.org/shop/.