Documentary: The Life of Stephen Bates

The short documentary, The Life of Stephen Bates, by Vergennes filmmaker, Chris Spencer, captures key moments from the dedication and unveiling of the historic marker for Sheriff Stephen Bates, the first known Black sheriff of Vermont. It includes interviews with two great-grandsons as well as other historic marker team members directly involved in the research and planning of the event, which occurred in Vergennes on October 3, 2021. Stephen Bates was sheriff of Vergennes for 25 years, during the period from 1879 to 1907.

We encourage everyone who is interested to watch the documentary to learn more about the history of this remarkable man who was elected Sheriff fourteen years after the end of the Civil War, and who continued to be elected for 25 years, all the while serving the predominantly white citizenry of Vergennes. View the documentary at https://vimeo.com/641604952/24cfd0a471.

A showing of the documentary at the Bixby Library is being organized for February 2022 during Black History Month and will include a panel from the historic marker team for a Q&A session. Please check back for more information on the date, time, and location (in-person and/or Zoom).

Learn more about the Bixby Library’s Stephen Bates Exhibit at https://bixbylibrary.org/the-stephen-bates-collection/.