Born the son of a tribal prince in about the year of 1729 in an interior West African country, Broteer Furro, was from a cattle-herding people. His African name would be one of his memories of his homeland.
Venture Smith was the name Broteer was given as a slave. His people in Africa were invaded by an army of other Africans and forced to march nearly 400 miles to the sea. Venture was probably 8 or 9 years old at the time. They were held in the infamous “Slave Castle” (a fortress much more like a dungeon) on what is now the coast of Ghana.Venture survived the barbaric “middle passage” on board the ship from Africa to Barbados. He was named Venture by the man who decided to keep him as the ship continued on its journey to Newport, Rhode Island.
Making Freedom: The Extraordinary Life of Venture Smith details the three slave masters he suffered under and his eventual freedom which he earned by paying for it.His narrative was recorded by a school teacher named Elisha Niles and verified by five prominent residents of New London, Connecticut.
I especially liked this quotation from the Foreword of the book written by James O. Horton: “Venture Smith’s story is also the iconic story of a self-made man who struggled against the greatest of odds to become a successful entrepreneur. This volume tells this story through the extraordinary life of a man one cannot help but admire.”Education yourself about one of Connecticut’s most successful black entrepreneurs by reading about Venture Smith!