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Lamont D. Thomas

Cuffe, Paul (17 January 1759–07 September 1817), entrepreneur and Pan-Africanist, was born Paul Slocum on Cuttyhunk Island near New Bedford, Massachusetts, the son of Coffe Slocum, a freedman from West Africa, and Ruth Moses, a Wampanoag Native American. Cuffe moved with his family from insular Cuttyhunk and Martha’s Vineyard to mainland Dartmouth, a bustling maritime community. After his father’s death, Cuffe shipped out on local vessels bound for the Caribbean. He was twice jailed, once in New York during the American Revolution, when the British blockade captured the vessel he was on, and later in Massachusetts, when Dartmouth selectmen ordered him and his older brother John confined for tax evasion. Unable to vote because of their color, they had unsuccessfully petitioned the Massachusetts legislature not to tax them.

Successful blockade runs to Nantucket in his own boat launched Cuffe in the maritime trade By the end of ...

Article

Robert Fay

At his death on September 9, 1817 Paul Cuffe had a rich life upon which to reflect He and his wife Alice had seven children His several family run businesses had earned assets worth an estimated $20 000 making him the wealthiest man in Westport Massachusetts and the wealthiest black man in the United States News of his death reached the other side of the Atlantic illustrating how far his fame and influence had spread Yet his life of accomplishment had not eliminated the racial discrimination that was built into American society ironically following his funeral at the South Friends Meeting House which his financial support had helped to build Cuffe was buried in a remote cemetery corner far away from the white Quakers Despite the material successes of his life he had not attained the goal that came to dominate his life the mass emigration of American blacks ...

Article

Donald R. Wright

Atlantic trader and early African colonizationist, was born on Cuttyhunk Island off southern Massachusetts, one of ten children of Kofi (later Cuffe) Slocum, a freed slave originally from West Africa's Gold Coast, and Ruth Moses Slocum, a Wampanoag Native American, both farmers. Kofi Slocum's Quaker master freed him in the mid-1740s and, although he was excluded by race from membership in the Society of Friends, Kofi and Ruth Slocum lived by Quaker principles—hard work, frugality, and honesty. This diligence paid off in the 1766 purchase of a 116-acre farm in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, on Buzzard's Bay. At his death in 1772 Kofi bequeathed the farm to his sons Paul and John.

Taking his father s African name Cuffe and respecting his dual Native American and African American identity the self educated Cuffe sought his fortune at sea Whaling was open to men of any race so Paul worked on Atlantic ...

Article

Scott A. Miltenberger

Paul Cuffe was born as Paul Slocum on Cuttyhunk Island, Massachusetts, the seventh child of the freed African slave Kofi and the Wampanoag Indian woman Ruth Moses. A member of the West African Ashanti tribe, Kofi had been a slave for fifteen years before the wealthy and influential Quaker John Slocum freed him. In the 1740s, spurred by the preaching of the Quaker prophet John Woolman, the Society of Friends began to question the institution of slavery. Many Quakers throughout the Eastern Seaboard started freeing their slaves and organizing in opposition to the institution. Paul Cuffe's African heritage and his experiences with Friends would decisively shape his life.

In 1746 the freed Kofi took the name Cuffe Slocum and married Moses. They moved to Cuttyhunk, where Slocum became quite prosperous. By 1766 he had earned enough money to purchase 116 acres of farmland on the continent at Dartmouth ...

Article

Bertis English

politician, civil rights activist, black nationalist, and labor leader, was born James K. Green in North Carolina. Little is known about Jim's parents or his childhood years, but eventually he became the valued servant of a Mr. Nelson, a wealthy Hale County, Alabama, planter who owned 500 slaves. Despite Green's somewhat privileged position among the bondmen, he was never taught how to read or write, but he did master carpentry. Consequently, Green became one of the relatively few black skilled laborers in the predominantly black cotton, or Black Belt, region of Alabama who were able to use their antebellum earnings to become economically independent once they were emancipated.

Following the Civil War, Green joined the Republican-led Union, or Loyal, League and entered politics. In 1867 he represented Hale County during the state constitutional convention. The same year, he succeeded Greene County Registrar Alexander Webb ...

Article

Glenn Allen Knoblock

American Communist Party activist, was born in Paramaribo, Suriname, the son of Rudolf Francis Huiswoud, a freed slave and tailor, and his wife, Jacqueline Hendrietta (Bernhard). After apprenticing as a printer and cabinet maker, Huiswould decided to seek a career at sea. Originally intending to travel to the Netherlands in pursuit of that goal, he instead disembarked in New York, entering the U.S. illegally in 1910 aged 17.

During the First World War Huiswoud joined the Harlem Socialist Party (SP) along with other “New Negro” radicals including Grace Campbell, Lovett Fort-Whiteman, Chandler Owen, A. Philip Randolph, and Richard B. Moore In general the American SP ignored the oppression of black people at worst supporting segregation and at best arguing that blacks were subject only to class and not race oppression However the Harlem branch uniquely among Socialists attempted to develop a Socialist program ...

Article

Barbara Kraley Youel

bookseller and black nationalist, was born in Newport News, Virginia, the son of Henry Michaux and Blanche Pollard. Some uncertainty about his birth date exists because his death certificate from the New York Vital Records Department lists it as 23 August 1884. Before coming to New York, Michaux worked variously as a pea picker, window washer, and deacon in the Philadelphia, church of his brother, Lightfoot Solomon Michaux. According to Edith Glover, his secretary when he was a deacon, Michaux started selling books in Philadelphia with an inventory of five. When he founded his bookstore in 1932 in Harlem, he still had only a few books with him, including Up from Slavery, plus a bust of its author, Booker T. Washington. Michaux initially sold books from a wagon, then moved to a store on Seventh Avenue (later renamed Adam Clayton Powell Jr Boulevard ...

Article

Barbara Kraley Youel

Michaux, Lewis H. (04 August 1885–25 August 1976), bookseller and black nationalist, was born in Newport News, Virginia, the son of Henry Michaux and Blanche Pollard. Some uncertainty about his birthdate exists because his death certificate from the New York Vital Records Department lists it as 23 August 1884. Before coming to New York, Michaux worked variously as a pea-picker, window-washer, and deacon in the Philadelphia church of his brother, Solomon Lightfoot Michaux. According to Edith Glover, his secretary while a deacon, Michaux started selling books in Philadelphia with an inventory of five. When he founded his bookstore in 1932 in Harlem, he still had only a few books with him, including Up from Slavery, plus a bust of Booker T. Washington. Michaux initially sold books from a wagon, then moved to a store on seventh Avenue (later renamed Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard).

Sleeping ...