Taking Politician Henry Clay to Court 1829

Taking Politician Henry Clay to Court 1829 (HM2J0Z)

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N 38° 2.975', W 84° 29.804'

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Suing for Freedom

— Downtown African-American Heritage Trail —

This site was once the law office of prominent national politician Henry Clay. In the early 19th century, one of his enslaved, Charlotte Dupuy (do-pea), sued Clay for the freedom of herself and her children.

A previous owner had promised to free Charlotte "upon the condition of long & faithful services." When his family moved to Lexington, Charlotte married Aaron Dupuy, an enslaved man on Clay's Ashland estate. They asked the Clay family to buy her so Charlotte and Aaron would not be separated-a fear of all enslaved couples.

When Clay served as Secretary of State, the Dupuys enjoyed relative freedom living in Washington, D.C. Charlotte knew that returning to Kentucky would mean enslavement for her family.

Fighting for her family
In 1829, citing her previous owner's promise, Charlotte sued Clay for her family's freedom. She was allowed to work for wages in D.C. for 18 months until her lawsuit was denied Clay, "the Great Compromiser," showed no willingness to compromise where Charlotte was concerned. He did not grant
her and her daughter, Mary Anne, freedom until 1840 and her son, Charles, until 1844. Her husband Aaron was freed by 1852.
Details
HM NumberHM2J0Z
Tags
Year Placed2018
Placed ByTogether Lexington
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, July 22nd, 2019 at 8:01pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 719649 N 4214274
Decimal Degrees38.04958333, -84.49673333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 2.975', W 84° 29.804'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 2' 58.5" N, 84° 29' 48.24" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near , ,
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