The poetic commemoration of a man’s life in enslavement from a past poet laureate and three-time National Book Award finalist
For over 200 years, the Mattatuck Museum in Connecticut has housed a mysterious skeleton. In 1996, community members decided to find out what they could about it. Historians discovered that the bones were those of an enslaved man named Fortune, who was owned by a local doctor. After Fortune's death, the doctor rendered the bones.
Further research revealed that Fortune had married, had fathered four children, and had been baptized later in life. His bones suggest that after a life of arduous labor, he died in 1798 at about the age of 60. The Manumission Requiem is Marilyn Nelson’s poetic commemoration of Fortune's life. Detailed notes and archival photographs enhance the reader's appreciation of the poem.