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She Calls Herself Betsey Stockton

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Merging scholarly research and biographical narrative, She Calls Herself Betsey Stockton reveals the true life of a freed and highly educated slave in the Antebellum North. Betsey Stockton’s odyssey began in 1798 in Princeton, New Jersey, as “Bet,” the child of a slave mother, who captured the heart of her owner and surrogate father Ashbel Green, President of Princeton University. Advanced lessons at Princeton Theological Seminary matched her with lifelong friends Rev. Charles S. Stewart and his pregnant bride Harriet, as the three endured an 158-day voyage as Presbyterian missionaries to the Sandwich Islands in1823. Armchair sailors will savor Stockton’s own pre-Moby Dick whaleship journal of her time at sea, a shipboard birth, and life at Lahaina, Maui, where Stockton is celebrated as founding the first school for non-royal Hawaiians. Back on US soil, Stockton became surrogate mother to the Stewarts’ three children, sailed with missionaries on the Barge Canal to the Ojibwa Mission School, and later returned to her hometown, establishing a church and four schools which are the centers of a still-vibrant African American Historic District of Witherspoon-Jackson.