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Lucy A. Delaney (Lucy Ann), b. 1828?
From the Darkness Cometh the Light or Struggles for Freedom
St. Louis, MO.: J. T. Smith, [189-?].


Lucy A. Delaney (1830-ca. 1890s) was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to Polly Crocket and her husband. Although Polly Crocket had once been a free woman, she was kidnapped from her home in Illinois and sold as a slave to Major Taylor Berry. Berry arranged for his slaves to be freed upon his and his wife's deaths. However, a few years after he died in a duel, his wife remarried. When she died, Berry's will was set aside, and Lucy's family remained enslaved. The family was separated when her father was sold to a plantation near Vicksburg, Mississippi, and again when her sister, Nancy, escaped to Canada.

Lucy's published her narrative From the Darkness Cometh the Light, or, Struggles for Freedom sometime in the 1890s. She devotes a significant portion of the narrative to her mother's attempts to prove that she was once a free woman. Both she and Lucy presented their cases in trials, and both received verdicts granting them freedom. The remainder of the narrative briefly outlines Lucy's life after slavery. Her first husband was killed in a tragic accident shortly after their marriage. She and her second husband had four children, but all of them died before this work was published. Lucy's mother lived with her after traveling to Canada to visit Nancy. Shortly after their mother's death, Lucy and Nancy were reunited with their father, who remained in Vicksburg following the Civil War.

Works Consulted: Andrews, William L., Frances Smith Foster, and Trudier Harris, eds., The Oxford Companion to African American Literature, New York: Oxford University Press, 1997; Smith, Jessie Carney, ed., Notable Black American Women, Detroit: Gale Research, 1992.

Monique Prince

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