Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Boston Committee of Correspondence

My English class and I are researching freedom and slavery in 1774 in our town of Suffield, Connecticut. We have been working hard to tell the “untold” history of 1774. For over two months all of the thirteen students in our class were going in different directions on behalf of the same question: What happened after the Boston Tea Party?

In order to understand our very specific question, we have to know a big picture, that is why I decided to go ahead and look for what led to the Boston tea Party.

I have been working with the New York Public Library for almost a month and with NYPL cooperation I was able to find a lot of information on the Boston Committee of Correspondence.

 

The Boston Committee of Correspondence was formed in 1772  on the verge on the American Revolution by Samuel Adams in response to the British government’s decision to pay the governors and making them and America fully dependent on the crown. Adams and other leaders wrote all the colonists’ rights and proposals and sent them to other Massachusetts’ towns in order to get approval, advice and support. Similar committees were formed in other colonies in America, including New York, making this a strong network that helped communication across the thirteen colonies in order to gain independence from Great Britain.

Forming the Boston Committee of Correspondence was the first step against the British Crown.

The committees were responsible for the atmosphere in the Colonial America on a particular issue or law. Most of the correspondents were members were active in Sons of Liberty organizations. The committees lasted for twelve years, 1772-1784.

 

Sources:

http://archives.nypl.org/mss/343#overview

http://www.history.com/topics/american-revolution/committees-of-correspondencehttp://www.rutgersprep.org/kendall/7thgrade/cycleA_2013-14/09_ZO/samueladams_ZO.html

http://www.rutgersprep.org/kendall/7thgrade/cycleA_2013-14/09_ZO/samueladams_ZO.html

 

 

 

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Did Richard Fortune Earn his Freedom in the War?

While Titus Kent is an African-American Revolutionary War veteran recognized on Suffield Veterans Memorial, a classmate discovered that a Richard Fortune fought in the Connecticut Regiment, and he is listed as being from Suffield. This discovery made me reflect on my previous research where I read Katherine Harris’ introduction in African American Connecticut Explored, where she opens the collection of history with this reflection: “The coexistence of freedom and slavery shape the lives of people of African descent from their first arrival in the Connecticut colony.” I then read David O White’s work, Revolutionary War Service; Path to Freedom in the collection and began more research on Richard Fortune.

We were able to get more in depth about what an important Katherine Harris’ research was. Looking into her researching history about slavery and freedom in Suffield Connecticut, I was able to come across Richard Fortune. Just like Titus Kent, who has
been researched by one of my classmates was an important

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Researched on Ancestry.com

Richard Fortune was pa
rt of the Revolutionary War and entered into the army at the age of around 18. In the 1820’s there are records of the United States Federal Census. This record informs us that Richard Fortune had to be the age of 45 and up in the year 1820. It also gave us information on his spouse. His wife was Diana Fortune who was able to live longer than him and she received his pension benefits when she was his widow. There is also a record of
her age in the year 1820. It says she was in between 26 and 44 years of age. This is a broad range, but it gives us the idea that she was fairly younger than Mr.

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Researching on Ancestry.com

Fortune.
As a class we were hoping to get more background information if possible on Richard Fortune. Researching Titus Kent gave us a good deal of information on Connecticut Slavery and Freedom during 1774. Thus, so finding more information on another African American soldier would get us closer to answers we are looking for as a class. If we could find more information on Richard Fortune, that could be great for my class. Can anyone help us with more sources and resources to find out more about Richard Fortune’s life after the war?

Preaching the Aboliton of Slavery

I have continued my research into the impact of religion on slavery and freedom in Connecticut in 1774. The connection between the two topics is particularly interesting to me because of the potential impact religion could have had on the institution of slavery. Some religious leaders did indeed speak out about the institution and were active in trying to abolish it, while others did not. From what I understand about Reverend Levi Hart of Preston, Connecticut, he was one who spoke out against slavery, he advocated for better living situations and lives for slaves. While Timothy Dwight IV, the president of Yale, initially was said to not agree with slavery but eventually bought a slave named Naomi. Although he did claim it was his intention to “buy her freedom” we are unsure as to if this ever happened.

antislaverysermonedwards2

Jonathan Edwards Sermon

A new name I have come across is theologian Jonathan Edwards of Connecticut who was born in 1745. He supposedly recycled Anthony Bezenet’s golden rule. Bezenet was a Quaker delegate from Philadelphia also born in 1745 and his golden rule was “whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them”. Bezenet taught African American school children at a school he set up called the African Free School in Philidelphia. He advocated for full equality for black and white people and acknowledged as a white male that he was not interested in having superiority. He came up with many philosophical arguments countering the institution. Jonathan Edwards also looked to the Revolutionary War natural rights arguments to justify his thoughts on why slavery should be abolished. Edwards even gave sermons preaching his thoughts, one titled “The Injustice and Impolicy of the Slave-Trade and the Slavery Of Africans”, in 1791 to an anti-slavery group in New Haven Connecticut. I am currently searching for more information on this sermon as well as this group and am starting by looking for a copy or a typed version of the sermon.

slavelog42

Log book of slaves Africa to New London

Through my current research on Jonathan Edwards, I was able to find awesome recourses that has a list of prints created in Connecticut in the 1700’s regarding slavery that I am hoping to continue to look into. For example, I found the log book of slave trades from New London to Africa as well as a story of a specific slave we have yet to search named James Mars. I am excited to further my knowledge on all of these issues, and I think I have come across some excellent finds through the UMASS Amherst library and the library of Congress. The religious impact on slavery was seemingly impressive. It turns out that quite a few religious leaders did not agree with the institution and through the search of one influential, comes the names of many others in our area.

http://libguides.southernct.edu/lincoln

https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/african-american-odyssey/abolition.html

http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/trr106.html

http://princeamongslaves.org/module/abolitionism.html?page=2

http://woolmancentral.com/files/J_Kershner_Woolman_Lecture_2015.pdf

https://www.harrietbeecherstowecenter.org/stowedocuments/Slavery_in_New_England.pdf

https://books.google.com/books?id=gnFYUkVujAwC&pg=PA244&lpg=PA244&dq=secondary+sources+about+jonathan+edwards+ct+theology&source=bl&ots=wVPhWMoC_I&sig=RcGCZcprvKT_3CzB5V6o2r9XUkA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi71N3XlqnSAhXr24MKHXAvB8AQ6AEILTAE#v=onepage&q=secondary%20sources%20about%20jonathan%20edwards%20ct%20theology&f=false

New London

After looking into the origins of slavery in Connecticut, and finding that New London was a slave town what exported slaves into other places in Connecticut, I think that I should stay on this idea, and start digging deeper. new_london_ct_4.jpgRecently I have found that New London had 316 slaves by 1774, while Suffield’s only had 33, which brings it to roughly 10 percents of slaves in New London. Now knowing that New London was exporting slaves to Suffield, we can estimate that it was selling one tenth of their slave population to Suffield, this is a big percentage, counting on how many other towns and cities there are in Connecticut at that time. I will be researching more in that area, and start getting information from different sources, old journals etc, to find evidence to my topic.

Hot log secondary source:

“Connecticut Slave Population By County And Town In 1774.” Tribunedigital-thecourant. N.p., 29 Sept. 2002. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.

“Slavery in the North.” Slavery in the North. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.

African American CT Explored

After researching more into the historian, I came across a book that she took part in. The book is named African American Connecticut Explored and this book examines details that we can look into for our topic. Katherine Harris sect5126etgSZRL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgion of the book explains the extent of slavery in Connecticut. Even the Africans that had the “free” status didn’t in all actual reality have all the privileges of being free. There were many interesting facts that she stated as well about the state of Connecticut. Connecticut had the largest number of enslaved Africans in New England at the beginning of the Revolutionary War. For instance between 1749 and 1774 the largest number of enslaved people took place. In order for slaves to achieve their freedom fully there was a long process that took place starting in the late 1770’s. Gradual Emancipation was the word used for Africans trying to gain their freedom back. Katherine Harris also found information that could put us deeper in our topic. Dr. Warren Perry of Central Connecticut State University is looking more into ancestors of the slaves to get more background in
formation. Douglas Harper was also someone of importance in Harris’s writing. Douglas Harper can also be someone to look into that can lead us to answers that we have about 1774 Suffield CT history. He has some writings that could be interesting to look at. There were also town meetings in New London that could be interesting to look into; to see if they got town meeting records. These are just some things that could put us in the right direction and be interesting to look into.

Do Religious Morals Help Challenge Slavery or Make The Institution More Tolerable?

Connecticut, as well as the rest of the new world, heavily followed religion, specifically the Christian faith and its principles. Religion in Connecticut in the 1700’s was also in some ways was a social thing. As a matter of fact, in the article I found, it put religion under the titled paragraph “Social Conditions”. In that paragraph it explained that Connecticut was ranked at the bottom of the Puritan society. It also states that African Americans in Connecticut had some place in social order, and they followed Christian principles and attended the same churches as their owners or masters. Suffield was not one of the most religiously affluent towns in the new world. Because Suffield quickly became a wealthy, business oriented town, religion was not at the forefront of the lives of Suffield residents in comparison to the work residents did for benefits of money. After speaking with the tour guide at the King home this became very clear to me and helped me to understand why Suffield did not participate in early Puritanical beliefs. One of the biggest questions I ask in regards to religion and slavery is how early white citizens could justify their enslavement of blacks while they were fighting for their freedom because of a growing dissatisfaction with the British government and if religion ever helped to cause some sort of reconciliation to slavery. It turns out however, religion did not completely help with the sad use of slavery but it did in some ways bring slaves and their masters together because slaves did often attend church alongside their masters. With that being said, some religious leaders did speak out about slavery like Reverend Levi Hart of Connecticut in the year 1775. Hart wrote a 23-page letter to Samuel Hopkins who resided in Rhode Island that is sometimes called the “blueprint” to the abolition of slavery in the north. This letter questions the morality of slavery and also includes a possible payment formula for slavery. Hart mentions in his note in the Hartford Courant that slaves stealing was starting to become more and more of an issue and that he thinks that it is a result of the restrains put on the slaves by not only their masters, but the government as well. To better explain his concept here is a quote from the Hartford Current article

“As to their growing more vicious and disorderly and, in particular, more given to stealing by being made free, the prospect is, I think, quite the contrary, for then they will be members of the community and have a common interest with others in support of good order and preservation of private property, whereas now they have no property to be exposed and so no interest in good order.”

Because of the words of people like Hart, I know that slavery was indeed controversial although to some people more than others. As the population of African American people in Connecticut continued to grow, servitude became lifelong slavery. Because of the growth of slavery, religious leaders were eventually called upon to justify it so as a result unfortunately, many Puritan leaders turned to the parts within the bible that comprised slavery.

Another question I had asked myself was if there were differences in the treatment of black, mixed and Native American slaves. So far what I have found states that mixed people, mostly products of slave masters and their female black slaves would actually not be recognized by their fathers as white at all. In fact, they would be left for their mother to raise them and would be born into slavery and take the role of a slave in that particular home often, as their mothers did. Some of these children were so light skinned that to a common eye one would not be able to classify their skin as black. It also turns out that all three groups of people had to be off streets by 9 o’clock at night and stay in the towns they lived in because black people were not trusted. Perhaps for reasons like they would steal from their masters, which as Reverend Hart recognized was probably the outcome of their poor life conditions.

vc0064531smithslave

http://www.womenhistoryblog.com/2007/12/slavery-in-connecticut.html

 

http://www.courant.com/news/special-reports/hc-levi_excerpt.artsep29-story.html

Historians Identifying Connecticut Slavery

I want to look more into an historian because the knowledge of the historian can answer a lot of unanswered questions. A historian can give us information that others would not have. Since having a first-hand experience with our investigation they can answer questions that we might have for them. Like how did slaves end up in Connecticut? How did they come across?

After doing some research trying to pull out as much information about this as possible. I have found something that can lead us into the right direction. Katherine Harris an African- American Historian has a lot of knowledge about this topic. She examines in an article about how slavery in Connecticut was legal until 1848 but people in the community had no clue. She says, “”It’s unfortunate because they don’t realize fortunes were made in this state based on slavery and the slave trade.” So people in Connecticut don’t even realize that majority of money that was first made in Connecticlogo-ctftut was from slavery.

From my online sources there are others sources that were being used like websites, books and museum programming. All of these sources were used to look into “secret” history and tell the untold stories to the public and educate people on information they have been missing out on for years. New research is constantly being added every day about this topic. There was another research on the slave ships that were used during the time period examined at the New London’s custom house Maritime museum. All of this research in different areas of the slave era in Connecticut could lead us to how slavery began in Connecticut. Another road to go down is the Connecticut Freedom Trail. From the research shows that actually, the freedom trail might also lead to stories of the Underground Railroad.