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Fortune's Bones: The Manumission Requiem
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Fortune was a slave who lived in Waterbury, Conn., in the late 1700s. He was married and the father of 4 children. When Fortune died in 1798, his master, Dr. Porter, preserved his skeleton to further the study of anatomy. Now the skeleton is in the Mattatuck Museum where it is still being studied. There is a skeleton on display in the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury, Connecticut. It has been in the town for over 200 years. Over time, the bones became the subject of stories and speculation in Waterbury. In 1996 a group of community-based volunteers, working in collaboration with the museum staff, discovered that the bones were those of a slave named Fortune who had been owned by a local doctor. After Fortune's death, the doctor dissected the body, rendered the bones, and assembled the skeleton. A great deal is still not known about Fortune, but it is known that he was baptized, was married, and had four children. He died at about the age of 60, sometime after 1797.
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