Old Capitol site of ‘From Slavery’ event
‘From Slavery to Freedom,’ the story of one Mary Clark’s epic life, will be re-enacted in front of an audience at the First State Capitol building tomorrow (Thursday) at 6 p.m.
Before arriving in Knox County in 1815, Clark was a Kentucky slave owned by Benjamin J. Harrison, a relative of William Henry Harrison. When slavery became illegal in Indiana the year following her arrival, Clark became indentured to Harrison and, later, to Gen. Washington Johnson. To be indentured meant a person had to be a servant for his or her owner for a period of time. It was considered a loophole to continue owning slaves, as now they were under contract. Clark, however, fought her owner, taking Johnson to court in 1821. No servant had ever challenged the system before her, causing her many hardships and retaliations during her battles, but she boldly continued her fight for freedom. The case eventually reached the Indiana Supreme Court in Corydon, which decided a landmark victory in favor of Clark. Indentured servitudes, from then on, were declared illegal in Indiana, thanks to Clark’s efforts.
After gaining freedom, she went on to found the Bethel AME Church in Vincennes with her husband, Samuel.
Eunice Brewer-Richardson, a great-great-great-granddaughter of Clark, researched Clark’s life and family tree, discovering Clark’s bravery in her fight for freedom. Another of Clark’s great-great-great-granddaughters, Ethel Brewer-McCane, will re-enact Clark’s life.
A $2 donation is suggested for attending the re-enactment.