Select Page

Charlotte Dupuy, a slave who sued her master, Henry Clay, for freedom, is the subject of a program at Eastern Kentucky University on Thursday, Feb. 11.

Elizabeth Lawson, a storyteller with the Kentucky Humanities Council, will portray Dupuy in a “Brown Bag” luncheon program – desserts and drinks furnished.  The program, sponsored by the University Diversity Office, will be held from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the Grand Reading Room of the John Grant Crabbe Main Library (a change from its earlier location).

At the age of 18, Dupuy was brought to Kentucky in 1805 by slaveowner James Condon and soon met her husband-to-be, Aaron, who was enslaved by Henry Clay and his wife, Lucretia. Charlotte and Aaron were married in 1806 and Charlotte was sold to the Clay family. She spent years with the Clay family carrying out household chores and caring for the Clays’ 10 children, as well as raising her own two.

In 1825, the Clay family moved to Washington, D.C., as Henry Clay served as U.S. secretary of state. Charlotte found an attorney who helped her sue for her freedom as well as that of her children. Her petition was denied and Charlotte was jailed for refusing to return to Kentucky with the Clays. She was freed by Henry Clay in 1840.