While the U.S. was still unwrapping what its newfound independence meant to the American colonies, on July 2, 1777, Vermont became the first territory to abolish slavery.
Setting the precedent for the rest of the country, Vermont’s legislature also went on to provide equal voting rights for African-American males.
Pennsylvania followed suit in 1780, and in 1774, New England colonies Rhode Island and Connecticut continued the internal slave trade but banned overseas slave trade.
On Nov. 25, 1858, Vermont ratified anti-slavery law into its constitution and became an independent republic called the Commonwealth of Vermont. It was not until 1791 that Vermont became the 14th state of the U.S.
Today, Vermont is the second-smallest U.S. state in population and the amount of Vermonters who identify as Black are estimated at 6,277, making up 1 percent of the state’s overall population.
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