Bearing Witness & the Endurance of Voice

Saint Albans Museum to host "Bearing Witness & the Endurance of Voice" virtual poetry reading and discussion

In "Bearing Witness & the Endurance of Voice" -a  digital presentation hosted by the Saint Albans Museum on March 3 at 7pm - author Shanta Lee Gander will illustrate Lucy Terry Prince’s importance as a poet and orator, and as one unafraid to fight for her rights within the landscape of early Vermont, New England, and America.

Prince was born in Africa, where she was kidnapped by slave traders and transported to Rhode Island. While still enslaved in 1746, she wrote “Bars Fight,” the oldest known poem in the United States written by an African American. Prince later regained her freedom and moved to Vermont with her husband, Abijah Prince, and fought for her family’s land rights all the way to the highest court in the state.

Gander will also perform Lucy’s only surviving poem, “Bars Fight.”

This event is sponsored by the Vermont Humanities Council, and is free and open to the public. Pre-registration via Zoom is required:

Shanta Lee Gander is an artist and multi-faceted professional. As a professional, her experience and knowledge includes 20+ years of leadership, marketing, building social capital and community partnerships, project planning, implementation, and execution alongside her ability to make creative vision tangible.

As an artist, her endeavors  include writing and photography with written work that has been featured in PRISM, ITERANT Literary Magazine, Palette Poetry, BLAVITY, DAME Magazine, The Crisis Magazine, Rebelle Society, on the Ms. Magazine Blog, and on a former radio segment Ponder This. Shanta Lee’s photojournalism has been featured on Vermont Public Radio ( and her investigative reporting has been in The Commons weekly newspaper covering Windham County,VT. Shanta Lee is the 2020 recipient of the Arthur Williams Award for Meritorious Service to the Arts and 2020 and named as Diode Editions full-length book contest winner for her debut poetry compilation, GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA: Dreamin of Mama While Trying to Speak in Woke Tongues.  Her contributing work on an investigative journalism piece for The Commons received a New England Newspaper & Press Association (NENPA) 2019 award. Shanta Lee gives lectures on the life of Lucy Terry Prince, considered the first known African-American poet in English literature, as a member of the Vermont Humanities Council Speakers Bureau and is the 2020 gubernatorial appointee to their board of directors.

Shanta Lee is an MFA candidate in Creative Non-Fiction and Poetry at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.  She has an MBA from the University of Hartford and an undergraduate degree in Women, Gender and Sexuality from Trinity College. To see more of Shanta Lee’s work, visit

The Saint Albans Museum was founded in 1966, with a nonprofit mission to preserve and share the history of St. Albans, Franklin County, and northwestern Vermont through exhibitions, educational programs, arts & cultural performances, publications, and special events.