Venture Smith, was the son of a royal family, who was kidnapped from his homeland in Africa as a boy and sold into the Maafa (slavery). Venture became a figure of mythical proportions in New England, where he was known for his great size and strength. His physique and unwillingness to suffer insult made him a problem for his enslavers, and he was sold several times before he was able to purchase his freedom in 1765, at the age of thirty-six. His history was documented when he recorded a narrative of his life and published it under the title A Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Venture, a Native of Africa: But Resident above Sixty Years in the United States of America, Related by Himself.
Venture Smith was born Broteer Furro in a place he recalls as Dukandarra in a region of West Africa. According to his narrative, his father, a prince, exercised authority with honor and generosity. His mother was one of several wives. Venture wrote that “I was descended from a very large, tall and stout race of beings, much larger than the generality of people in other parts of the globe.” Legend has it that Venture was well over 6 feet 1 1⁄2 inches (1.87 m) tall, weighed 300 pounds (140 kg), and carried a 9-pound (4.1 kg) axe for felling trees. His family’s world was turned upside down when a marauding army threatened, betrayed, and ultimately overwhelmed his people. Venture witnessed the torturing and murder of his father by the army for refusing to disclose the location of his treasure. As a 10-year-old, he was taken captive and marched about 1,000 miles to the coastal slave-trading center Anomabo (in present-day Ghana).