Friends of the Library to Host Annual Meeting & Tea with Kentucky Chautauqua Presentation

January 27, 2016

The Friends of the Library will kick off their Spring Program Series at the Friends Annual Meeting & Tea on January 28, 2016 at 4:30 pm in the Community Room at the Boyle County Public Library. The program will include the Kentucky Chautauqua presentation of Charlotte Dupuy – Suing for Freedom featuring Elizabeth Dawson, and is sponsored by the Kentucky Humanities Council. This event is free and open to the public.

The presentation tells the story of Charlotte Dupuy, a slave who sued for her freedom and that of her children. In 1805, 18-year-old Charlotte was brought to Lexington, KY and was registered as a slave to James Condon. That same year she met Aaron Dupuy who was owned and enslaved by Henry and Lucretia Clay. Charlotte and Aaron were united in a traditional slave marriage in 1806. Following the marriage, Charlotte was sold to the Clay family, allowing her and Aaron to live as husband and wife.

During the years Charlotte worked for the Clays, she became the nursemaid to the eleven Clay children. In addition, Charlotte and Aaron had two children of their own.

When Henry Clay was appointed Secretary of State by President John Quincy Adams in 1825, the Clay and Dupuy families moved to Washington, D.C. While in Washington, through the help of family friends, Charlotte found a lawyer who, in 1829, filed papers on her behalf, suing the Clays for her and her children’s freedom. Her petition was denied and she refused to return to Kentucky with the Clay family. Charlotte was jailed in Virginia while awaiting transport back to the possession of Henry Clay. Upon her return, Charlotte was sent to New Orleans to care for some of the Clay's grandchildren for several years, eventually returning to Lexington to care for additional grandchildren.

In 1840, Henry Clay emancipated Charlotte and her daughter, granting them freedom and discharging them from all obligations to the Clay family. Four years later, her son was emancipated by Clay. Charlotte was 53 years old at the time of her emancipation.

On December 18, 1865, the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, ending involuntary servitude in the United States.