Chicago and the largest slavery reparations settlement in US history

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CHICAGO — The first-ever successful lawsuit brought by a slave was filed by Henrietta Wood.

In 1834, a teenage Wood was taken from her family in Kentucky and purchased by a man in New Orleans. When the man abandoned his family a decade later, his wife moved to Ohio and took Henrietta with her.

Since it was a “free state,” the woman legally had to free her.

Wood described that period as a “sweet taste of liberty.”

But the woman’s daughter and son-in-law see her as valuable property they’ve lost and vow to get Wood back to Kentucky.

Wood’s ordeal would take her from Kentucky to Mississippi to Cincinnati where she would finally win her freedom and a $2,500 settlement.

Listen to this story on the “Backstory with Larry Potash” podcast in the player below. Subscribe to Backstory on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.


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