Statue honors once-enslaved woman who won freedom in court

A monument of civil rights pioneer Elizabeth Freeman is unveiled in front of Sheffield’s Old Parish Church in Sheffield, Mass., Sunday, Aug. 21, 2022.

The story of an enslaved woman who went to court to win her freedom more than 80 years before the Emancipation Proclamation had been pushed to the fringes of history.

A group of civic leaders, activists and historians hope that ended Sunday in the quiet Massachusetts town of Sheffield with the unveiling of a bronze statue of the woman who chose the name Elizabeth Freeman when she shed the chains of slavery 241 years ago to the day.