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NH Senate passes bill freeing 14 former slaves

Updated: March 14, 2013 3:50PM

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — When 20 African-American slaves petitioned New Hampshire for their freedom two centuries ago colonial-era lawmakers decided the time wasn’t right. But now the state is one step closer to taking action.

The Senate passed a bill Thursday honoring the 233-year-old petition posthumously emancipating 14 of those slaves who died in bondage. The slaves all served in the Revolutionary War effort and believed the freedom being sought by colonists should be extended to them, too.

The bill will now be considered by the House. If it passes there, Gov. Maggie Hassan has said she would sign the bill into law.

Supporters say acting now would help bring attention to an African-American burial ground in downtown Portsmouth, where the city is raising money to build a memorial park to commemorate the site.

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