There is a skeleton in the Mattatuck Museum in Connecticut. It has been in the town for over 200 years. In 1996, community members decided to find out what they could about it. Historians discovered that the bones were those of a slave name Fortune, who was owned by a local doctor. After Fortune's death, the doctor rendered the bones. Further research revealed that Fortune had married, had fathered four children, and had been baptized later in life. His bones suggest that after a life of arduous labor, he died in 1798 at about the age of 60. Merilyn Nelson wrote The Manumission Requiem to commemorate Fortune's life. Detailed notes and archival photographs enhance the reader's appreciation of the poem.
About the Author
Marilyn Nelson is the author of The Freedom Business, Fortune’s Bones, and Carver: A Life in Poems, among other titles. She is a National Book Award finalist, a Newbery Honor Book winner, and a Boston Globe-Horn Book award winner. She lives in East Haddam, Connecticut.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is a collection of poems with notes and archival photos written to commemorate the life, death, and post-death of a Connecticut slave from the late 1700s. The bones of Fortune, the slave, were preserved by his master and eventually made their way to the Mattatuck Museum in Connecticut.A compelling presentation, and might be of interest to reluctant readers, since it¿s only 31 pages with lots of pictures. However, there are a lot of complex issues raised about slavery, the fate of the bones, and of the museum exhibit. This would be useful as part of a unit on slavery, and a way to get people thinking about the difference between ¿slavery¿ the concept, and the lives and identities of individuals.