An exhibition worth seeing at URI Providence. Runs through February 22.

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This exhibit focuses on Rhode Island’s deep ties to slavery, from the transatlantic slave trade to the cotton that gave birth to the textile industry. Giving a face to the labor underlying the business of slavery, it includes images from historical archives that highlight the role the slave trade, enslaved labor and products of slavery played in Rhode Island’s economic boom in the 19th century.  Historian Peter Fay has done an incredible amount of research for this impressive presentation.

The display features the work of Rhode Island artist Deborah Baronas, whose drawings and textile scrims allow the viewer to face these workers and sense their ghosts in our midst. Also making their labor tangible will be mature cotton plants the audience can touch. The exhibition will also include a loom from Slater Mill.

For specific time and place, click here.

We do a lot of reading and research in our work. Here’s the list of our resources.

Warren Middle Passage Project Resource List

Books

Arnold, James N., Vital Record of RI, Volume 6, Narragansett Historical Publishing Company, 1891-1912

Baker, Virginia, History of Warren in the War of the Revolution, Virginia Baker, 1901

Baptist, Edward E., The Half has never been told: Slavery and the making of American capitalism, Basic Books, 2014

Bartlett, I. H., From slave to citizen: The story of the Negro in RI, Urban League of Greater Rhode Island, 1954

Bartlett, John R. (ed.), Records of the Colony of RI and Providence Plantations in New England, 1678 to 1706, Volume III, Knowles and Anthony, 1858

Berlin, Ira, and Hoffman, Ronald, Slavery and freedom in the age of the American Revolution, University of Illinois, 1986

Bicknell, Thomas W., History and Genealogy of the Bicknell Family, and some collected…, Bicknell, 1913

Bicknell, Thomas W., A History of the Town of Barrington, RI, Snow and Farnham, 1898

Clark-Pujara, Christy, Dark work: The business of Slavery in RI, New York University Press, 2016

Coleman, Peter J., The Transformation of RI, 1790-1860, Brown University Press, 1963

Cottrol, Robert J., The Afro-Yankees: Providence’s Black community in the Antebellum Era, Greenwood Press, 1982

Coughtry, Jay, The Notorious triangle: RI and the African slave trade, 1700-1807, Temple University Press, 1981

Geake, Robert A., and Spears, Loren, From slaves to soldiers: The First RI Regiment in the American Revolution, Westholm Publishing, 2016

Grundset, Eric G., Forgotten patriots: African-American and American Indian patriots in the Revolutionary War…, National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, 2008

Herndon, Virginia W., Unwelcome Americans: Living on the margin in Early New England, Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 2001

Horton, James O., and Horton, Lois E, Slavery and public history: The Tough stuff of American memory, University of North Carolina Press, 2009

Johnston, William D., Slavery in RI, 1775-1776, Papers from the Historical Seminary of Brown University, 1894

Jones, Daniel P., The economic and social transformation of Rural RI, 1780-1850, Northeastern University Press, 1992

Mason, Alverdo H., Genealogy of the Sampson Mason Family, A. H. Mason, 1903

Melish, Joanne Pope, Disowning Slavery: Gradual emancipation and ‘Race’ in New England, 1780-1860, Cornell Univ., 2000

O’Toole, Marjory Gomez, If Jane should want to be sold: Stories of enslavement, indenture, and freedom in Little Compton, RI, Little Compton Historical Society, 2016

Pierson, William D., Black Yankees: The development of an Afro-American subculture in 18th Century New England, University of Massachusetts Press, 1988

Popek, Daniel M., “They Fought Bravely, But Were Unfortunate”…..The Story of Rhode Island’s Black Regiment…, Anchor House, 2015

Register of Seaman’s Protection Certificates from the Providence, RI Customs Districts, 1796-1870

RI Black Heritage Society, Creative survival: The Providence Black community in the Nineteenth Century, RI Black Heritage Society, 1995

RI Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission, Warren, RI, Statewide Preservation Report B-W-1, RI Historic Preservation Commission, 1975

Rider, Sidney, S., An Historical Inquiry concerning the attempt to raise a Regiment of slaves by RI During the War of Revolution, S. S. Rider, 1880

Roediger, D. and Blatt, M. H. (eds.), The Meaning of slavery in the North, Garland Publishing, 1999

SenGupta, Gunja, From Slavery to poverty, New York University Press, 2009

Slavery and Justice: Report of the Brown University Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice, Brown University, 2007

Sweet, John W., Bodies politic: Negotiating race in the American North, 1730-1830, University of Penn. Press,

2003 Warren 250th Anniversary Committee, Warren 250th Anniversary book, Town of Warren, 1998

Wright, Otis, History of Swansea, Massachusetts, 1667-1917, Published by the Town, 1917

Youngken, Richard C., African Americans in Newport,: An Introduction to the heritage of African Americans in Newport, RI, 1770-1945, RI Historic Preservation and Heritage Commission and RI Black Heritage Society, 1995

Primary sources

Aaron Lopez Papers and Aaron Lopez Account Book, Newport Historical Society

Births, Marriages, and Deaths, Town of Warren, 1774-1844

Newport Historical Society

Rhode Island Judicial Archives

Rhode Island State Archives

Warren Town Records Collection, 1746-1811, Volume 1, Parts 1 & 2,

 

Wills and Inventories of the Town of Warren, Volume 1, 1746-1789, Volume 2, 1789-1802, Volume 3, 1810-1819

Theses

Clark-Pujara, Christy, Slavery, emancipation, and Black freedom in RI, 1652-1842, Thesis, University of Iowa,

2009 Glickman, Jessica, A War at the heart of Man: The Structure And construction of ships bound for Africa, Thesis, University of RI, 2015

Morrill, Rebecca, Religion and social influences upon the Anti-Slavery Movement in RI, 1773-1799, Thesis, Brown University, 1989

Websites

Internet Archives archive.org MA,

Wills and Probate Records, 1635-1991 ancestry.com

RI Historic Cemetery Commission Database rihistoriccemeteries.org

RI Vital Extracts, 1636-1899 ancestry.com

RI, Wills and Probate Records, 1582-1932 ancestry.com

Slavery in the North http://www.slavenorth.com

US Census Bureau us census.gov

US Revolutionary War Rolls ancestry.com

Voyages: The Transatlantic Slave Trade Database slavevoyages.org

Wills and Inventories, Warren, RI

February, 2018

This Thursday, February 8, a discussion of RI textiles and Southern Slavery.

Visible Cloth, Invisible Bodies: Rhode Island Textiles and Southern Slavery in the 19th Century

Thursday, Feb 8, 2018 6:30-8 p.m.

Expert Panel Discussion:

Dr. Gregory O’Malley, Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Cruz

Dr. Seth Rockman. Associate Professor of history at Brown University

Christine Mitchell, Historical Interpreter, Old Slave Mart Museum, Charleston, S.C.

Moderator: Valerie Tutson, Rhode Island Black Storytellers

Providence Campus of University of Rhode Island

80 Washington Street

Providence, RI 02903

 

Community leaders meet to discuss Middle Passage Memorial.

On January 30th, more than a dozen community leaders came to a Warren Middle Passage Project meeting to discuss how we move forward in our efforts to memorialize those who died or were enslaved and to recognize the pivotal role African Americans played in the building of America.

After Sarah Weed and Pat Mues gave a brief overview of Warren’s role in the slave trade and the story of those enslaved within the town, folks broke up into small groups to brainstorm on how to make sure we get a good turnout for our community meeting later this year.

The consensus was educate, educate, educate people about our history.  Some of the people present had grown up and gone to school here and had never heard a word about slavery and Warren.  Some knew about Bristol, Newport and Providence but never thought Warren was connected.  And so, we will continue to present “Finding Phebe” whenever we can and hope that community groups will get in touch so we can find new venues within Warren.

“Finding Phebe” spurs conversation.

Last night Sarah and I presented “Finding Phebe” at Linden Place in Bristol.  We had a great group of about sixty people including students from the Roger William School of Law.  Those men and women asked questions and joined the discussion, giving us all a chance to talk about why this subject echoes through to today.

For those of you who would like to know more about the work being done by students and scholars, you might want to check out the website of Brown University’s Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice which states “Recognizing that racial and chattel slavery were central to the historical formation of the Americas and the modern world, the CSSJ creates a space for the interdisciplinary study of the historical forms of slavery while also examining how these legacies shape our contemporary world.”

dark work coverLocated on the campus of Brown University, the Center always has an interesting, small exhibition and hosts events throughout the year.  They have a great video archive of past presentations and conferences, including a lecture by Christy Clark-Pujara author of Dark Work.  In her hour long talk she lays out how the business of slavery permeated Rhode Island.  Listening to her is the easiest way to begin to understand that part of our state’s history; her book has become a ready reference for our work.

 

 

“Finding Phebe” is coming to Linden Place.

On Wednesday, January 24th at 7 pm, Sarah Weed and Pat Mues will be presenting “Finding Phebe: Uncovering the History of Enslavement in Warren, RI” at Linden Place in Bristol.  Please click here for details, reservations are required.

As you may or may not know, Linden Place was once home to the DeWolfs who made their fortune forcing African men, women and children into slavery, most often on their sugar plantations in Cuba.  This presentation will be focused on the enslaved in Warren in the 18th century, though we are including some information on the situation in Bristol at the time as well as the plight of a young woman listed in a will in the year 1755.

1789: Warren enters the slave trade.

The schooner Abigail would become Warren’s first slave ship in 1789, two years after slave trading had been declared illegal for Rhode Island residents.  But that did not deter Warren’s Ebenezer Cole (Town Councilman for 11 terms), Captain Charles Collins (Town Councilman for 3 terms) and James and Level Maxwell from investing in the ship.  It was designed with a middle deck less than five feet high where the kidnapped Africans would be imprisoned.  The ship would not return for more than 8 months.

We know little about that journey.  But the records of The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database — slavevoyages.org — states that 64 African men, women and children were forced onto the ship and then imprisoned for two months. Traveling through the torturous Middle Passage, at least eleven died; it’s likely their bodies were thrown overboard on the open sea.  The surviving 53 people were sold into slavery in the Caribbean and the Abigail returned home with the profits.

 

 

Welcome to the Warren Middle Passage Project blog.

The Warren Middle Passage Project is an all-volunteer group researching the history of the slave trade and enslavement in Warren, Rhode Island. Our goal is to document that history, build a memorial to those Africans who died or were sold into slavery, identify those people who were enslaved here as well as their descendants and recognize the crucial role African-Americans played in the building of Warren, Rhode Island and the United States.

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