Lucy Terry Prince Day

Lucy Terry Prince, painting by Louise Minks

Sunday, July 11, 2021
The Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association and Historic Deerfield, Inc. invite you to a FREE event from 10 am–4:30 pm:

A Day in Old Deerfield with America’s First African American Poet

July 11 is “Lucy Terry Prince Day,” marking the bicentennial of the first known African American poet’s death.  Lucy Terry Prince’s life (c.1730-1821) from birth and captivity in Africa c.1730 to enslavement in Deerfield, MA, to her death as a free woman in Vermont in 1821, encompasses signal events in the lives of enslaved people and their important contributions to American culture, the Revolution, and the economy.

10am–2pm meet the local artist, Louise Minks, who created the
Lucy Terry Prince painting. Memorial Hall Museum, 8 Memorial Street.

10am–4:30pm Lucy Terry Prince tours of the Memorial Hall galleries connecting her story with that of the African American community of her day – and with English Deerfield people such as her minister Rev. Ashley; places like the meetinghouse on the common where she attended; the house where she resided; and locations in Deerfield where she lived both as an enslaved single woman, but then as a free married woman of color.  Listen to the music from her world in West Africa to her new life in Deerfield.

Wells-Thorn House

On-the-half-hour, starting at 10am, tours of Lucy’s first home in Deerfield, the present-day Historic Deerfield, Inc. museum house known as the Wells-Thorn House, 52 Old Main Street. (Corner of Memorial Street and Old Main Street.)

Self-guided Tour handouts (one for Memorial Hall Museum and for Old Deerfield village) for exploring the web of Lucy Terry Prince’s life along the Street in Deerfield as well as a Self-guided Driving Tour Map to the site of the 1746 Mill and Bars Fight (where a fight between Deerfield settlers and Native Americans occurred on August 25, 1746), the subject of her only surviving poem.

Dolls by Belinda Lyons Zucker

10am and 1pm demonstrations by an African American doll artist of both traditional and contemporary dolls, Belinda Lyons Zucker – who just donated a Lucy Terry Prince doll to the PVMA collection. Deerfield Teachers’ Center, 10 Memorial Street.

“Roots” by Sisters In Stitches Joined By The Cloth guild

11:30am and 2:30pm quilt trunk show presentations by an African American, Sisters In Stitches Joined By The Cloth, quilt guild. “Beyond the Quilts,” will feature quilts displayed in a historical timeline that embraces spirituality, rites of passage, enslaved ancestors, resistance to slavery, poetry, and social justice. Deerfield Teachers’ Center, 10 Memorial Street.

Indian House Children’s Museum

10am to 4:30pm hands-on activities at the Indian House Children’s Museum. Visitors of all ages are invited to explore Lucy’s work and education through a variety of activities. Chores to try might include using a yoke to carry buckets of water, sewing a straight line with the tiniest stitches possible, and carding and spinning wool.  Since Lucy worked in a one-room tavern in the original Indian House, visitors can examine historic images to discover what activities took place in one and learn about the laws governing the patrons and tavernkeepers.  Lucy was taught to read and write at home by her owner, Mrs. Wells.  Some of her lessons might have come from a “hornbook” and visitors can find out more about them and experience a lesson from one or try writing with a quill pen. Indian House Children’s Museum, 107 Old Main St., Deerfield.

NOTE:  Historic Deerfield is delighted to join PVMA in celebrating Lucy Terry Prince Day by offering FREE tours of the Wells-Thorn House where Lucy lived. Visitors interested in touring other Historic Deerfield museum houses and galleries may purchase tickets at the Flynt Center of Early New England Life. For more information or to plan a visit please visit