THE NATURAL STATE OF MANKIND IS...FREEDOM
Amistad ~ a movie which partly was shot here in Rhode Island, Newport included. My favorite scene ~
"…The natural state of mankind is instead - and I know this is a controversial idea - is freedom. Is freedom. And the proof is the length to which a man, woman or child will go to regain it once taken. He will break loose his chains, he will decimate his enemies, he will try and try and try against all odds, against all prejudices to get home.
…who we are is who we were…give us the courage to do what is right..."
Slavery here in Newport ~
Here in Newport, Rhode Island we have several physical ‘touch stones’ to remind us of the legacy left by those Africans and later African Americans who graced our city with their presence. From 1696 when the first documented slave ship, the ‘Sea Flower’, touched our shores, to the present, African Americans have worked, raised their families and prospered in the city by the sea.
The American Slave Trade and Newport share similar origins. Newport, the most prosperous of colonial American ports, saw unprecedented growth throughout the 18th century; mostly from the export and trade of rum, spermaceti candles and slaves. By 1784, the fledgling state government abolished slavery.
Many of the slaves that came to Newport’s shore would arrive, like most goods, at the Long Wharf. These slaves would be auctioned off to the highest bidders at the Granary (market), which is today known as the Brick Market at the foot of Washington Square.
If colonial Newport was known as one of America’s most active slave ports, it was equally known as one of the new country’s most liberal communities for the pursuit of religious freedom. This unique atmosphere of religious tolerance would lead to the demise of popular support of human bondage led by two of America’s first humanitarians and abolitionists; Reverend Samuel Hopkins and Reverend Ezra Stiles of the First and Second Congregational Churches. Both men preached fiery sermons from their pulpits against the evils of slavery. Because of the dedication and vision of these two men, and the decline of Newport as a major trading port after the Revolutionary War, slavery would end in Newport by the commencement of the 19th century.
Where did these slave and free Africans live and work in early Newport? What were they like? Do any of these sites exist in Newport today? Numerous sites exist today that were built, lived in, or in some way touched by Newport’s long history with the African and African American community. Source and for more information ~ www.eyesofglory
“…unless we all have plenty
one of us will become a thief and the ghief will make you angry
you will hurt him
this will hurt his children
they will punish you
this will hurt your children
they will punish his children
and that’s how it begins
to believe in man is to know
peace will not work if just one man alive
if one man alive
FOR we have seen if only one of us
decides to pull the plug, the millions of us can kiss
the world good-bye
whether we like it or not.
From Joseph Pintauro’s little book “to believe in man”
Illustrated by Sister Corita Kent
Click the post title for Newport history regarding slavery