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tv   History of the Slave Trade  CSPAN  January 20, 2018 8:30am-8:41am EST

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in that group. they have received less public attention. i think we need to meet those students where they are, to help them to develop, a place in our public conversation where they feel more included. announcer: sunday at 4 p.m. eastern on railamerica, the 1987 film, drug abuse, meeting the challenge. you likeou do cocaine, yourself about being in control. >> cocaine is not hip, its hype. anyone who tells you it is ok is a liar. announcer: watch "american history tv" every weekend on c-span3. >> during the early colonization of america, newport became a major hub in the slave trade, learn how that happened and how the enslaved people learned to adapt to their new world.
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one of the things i learned growing up in newport before becoming involved in history and interpretation, as my newport grandmother would remind me, slaver is how we got here but it does not tell the story of the people. my interest is telling the story of the people. clearly people of african ancestry arrived in the british oria the others, under the most perilous circumstances of human slavery. we persevered. so many of us of african heritage still exist today in newport, boston, new york, barbados or anywhere in the western hemisphere is a testament to our perseverance. settled in 1639 over the course of the next 100 years, newport and the colony of rhode island would grow to become one of the most active ports in british north america, but also the
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active slave port. 1805, newportnd merchants along with bristol merchants in rhode island, were responsible for nearly 1000 slated voyages from rhode island to west african coasts to the west indies and back to rhode island. they transported 100,000 africans to the new world during that period. on theicans that arrived rhode island ships had several pathways. rhode island being an english colony, was trading in other english colonies. in the case of west africa, the gold and ginny coasts, nigeria to ghana. from their, they would be taken to the west indies to english settlements in what we recognize today as the bahamas, jamaica and barbados. africans along with other products and goods would be transported back to newport in rhode island.
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will recall the triangle of trade. in the case of newport, this trade was tied to rom and molasses -- to rum and molasses. to the end of the 18th century after the american revolution, newport was involved in 80% of what is called the guinea rum trade. newport chips would take rum and trade it for enslaved africans. they would be transported to english colonies in the west indies, mostly jamaica and barbados. there they would become the labor force that would work the sugar plantations that would produce sugar and molasses. those raw materials transported back to newport would be distilled into more rum and that was used for consumption and currency. the atlantic slave trade went on for 4 centuries. but in the case of british
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colonial north america, the system is different than what many people might have a sense of today. many people when they think of african enslavement and the slave trade, tend to think of a west indian system or an antebellum southern american 19th century system. cotton fields, rice, sugar, coffee plantations. they all existed as part of the cash crop system but here in new england we have never had temperate weather. not great soil. we were producing cash crops. for the most part the africans that came to new england generally, particularly to newport, were more involved in the urban trade skills acquired during that time. in the case of newport, we have primary records and shift logs and work records that show africans being apprenticed and trained as artisans. many are involved as shipwrights, courts, so are making, fine furniture, snuff making, seamstress.
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any work required in urban new england seaport communities, the zapper curtain -- these africans were involved in doing. it is a different circumstance. the economy of colonial new england, the climate, the opportunities for training and education were different from the american south in the west indies. the very fact that newport was at the center of the african slave trade and the significant number of africans coming to newport, by the middle part of the 18th century, the few years leading to the american revolution, nearly a third of the population of newport are enslaved africans. families owned at least one slave. it was a significant number of africans, very much a part of the population and workforce. rhode island is also settled by whites looking for the expression of religious freedom, escaping tyranny of old world.
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religious freedom and the ability to worship freely was very important as a concept in this community. you find africans enslaved in religious households take on the religious identity of the master or mistress. quaker identity. the anglican episcopal church. we have africans listed as israelites. africans have access to work skills, training skills, they are actively worshiping in the same place as master and mistress and most important, there is no separation of living environments. most africans were living in the same quarters as master and mistress, and attic or pantry. living together, working together, worshiping together. that would have been largely unheard of in the south or the west indies.
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this tightknit community of interactivity would allow africans to have access to language skills, social skills. allowing them to reclaim their african identity earlier and that a much more comprehensive way than africans in slate elsewhere. by the mid-part of the 18th century we have a number of africans purchasing freedom. they buy homes and set up shops. by the 80's, a group of africans come together in newport and form the free african union. it does three things. that raises money and saves money to educate africans, establishes the first free african school in newport and would raise money for proper burial. the oldest and largest existing african burial ground in america is in newport. many markers are paid for and carved by fellow africans. the most important piece, they
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wanted to reclaim their african identity. through this union society, this school and their own church, they would reclaim their african names and customs and that would be in place in newport throughout the 18th century and 19th-century. this is important because today, there are at least 30 buildings or historic structures from the colonial era that are directly related to where africans were enslaved and more importantly, where africans owned property, plied their trade and taught their children. on a personal level, history is more than a vocation of study or learning. it is a way of life. definition of who you are. my own family, on my mother's side, we did back over 10 generations in newport. many of our newport ancestors did not look like george or martha washington or worship like them. african heritage, native heritage, jewish heritage. for me this provides an
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opportunity to talk about american history in an inclusive manner. 18th-century and 19th-century collections of furniture, clothing, books, documents, all the things a family might have an cherish, they have been passed on to this day. a strong sense of being real newporters but real americans. again, america was founded on the ideals of liberty of conscience and freedom but the idea that anyone regardless of race or ethnicity, religious persuasion, had the right to settle and prosper here. the story of newport very much represents that. city tour staff recently traveled to newport, rhode island to learn about its
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rich history. learn more about newport on www.c-span.org. your watching "american history tv", all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. announcer: a panel of scholars talks about people who disliked and opposed abraham lincoln during his presidency, including members of his own cabinet. this discussion was part of the annual lincoln forum symposium in gettysburg, pennsylvania. it is about one hour and 15 minutes. frank: good morning, i am frank williams, chair of the lincoln forum. welcome to this panel of forum 22, relating to lincoln's enemies. i am so pleased to have a distinguished -- every time someone says "distinguished," i want to run to the merlot bar. [laughter] >>

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