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tv   History of the Slave Trade  CSPAN  January 27, 2018 11:20pm-11:31pm EST

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to 1958. combat your feedback and -- comments on the tet offensive on facebook.com/c-span history. this year, c-span is touring cities across the country, exploring american history. next, a look at our recent visit to newport, rhode island. you are watching american history tv on c-span3. >> my grandmother would remind me that slavery is how we got here but it does not tell you the story of the people. my interest is telling the story of the people. people of african ancestry arrived in the americas under the most perilous and difficult
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circumstances of human slavery. on the other hand, we persevered. the fact that so many of african heritage exist in newport or boston or new york or anywhere in the western hemisphere is a testament to our perseverance. in 1639, over the course of the next 100 years, newport and the colony of rhode island would grow to be one of the most active port in british north america but also the most active slave port. between 1705 and 1805, newport merchants and bristol merchants were responsible for over 1000 avery voyages from rhode island to the west african coast and back. they transported about 100,000 africans during that 100 year. . arrived via that those ships had several pathways. for the most part, rhode island
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being an english colony was trading with other english colonies and settlements in africa. today, it was nigerian to ghana to ginny. africans would be taken to the west indies, to english settlements, what we recognize as the bahamas, jamaica, and barbados. from there, africans would be transported back to newport. what we call the triangle of trade. in the case of newport, this trade was tied to roman molasses. of the the beginning 18th century to the end of the 18th century, after the end of the american revolution, newport was involved in about 80% of the ginny rum trade. take rumrips would from newport and trade for
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enslaved africans from the coast to most would be trade -- sent to english colonies. become the would labor force in the sugar plantations. newport ships would take the raw materials and transported back to newport. it would be distilled into more rum and used for consumption and currency. european transatlantic slave trade when on for nearly four centuries in the case of colonial british north america, the system is different from what many might have a sense of today. when they think in terms of african enslavement, they tend to think of a west indian system or an empty bellin southern american system. they tend to think of connor fields, rice, sugar. it all existed and were part of the cash crop system. in new england, we never had temperate weather. we did not have great soil.
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the africans that came to new england, generally, were more involved in the urban trade skills required during that time. in newport, we have primary and secondary records and loves and records showing africans being apprenticed and trained as artisans. s.ny called ship right they were involved in silver making, rum making, seamstress. any of the work that was required in an urban new england seaport community. they were involved. it was not a better or worst circumstance, it was a different circumstance. the economy, climate, the opportunities for training and education were different from what enslaved africans would see in the americans out and was indies. the very fact that newport was at the center of the african
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trade and a significant number of africans would come to newport, by the middle part of the 18th century, leading up to the american revolution, nearly a third of the population of newport were enslaved africans. one out of every three families owned at least one slave. from that perspective, there were a significant number of africans very much of the population. rhode island is also settled by whites looking for the expression of religious freedom, escaping the tierney of old world and new world. religious freedom and your ability to worship freely was and am important -- was an important community. quaker communities, slaves took on a quick identity. we have africans listed as israelites. what is important is these africans have access work skills, training tools to
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perform those work skills. they are worshiping and the same place that master -- of master s.d mistres most were living in an attic or pantry. there is this living together, working together, worshiping together which would have been unheard of and unnecessary if africans were enslaved in the american south of the west indies. this tightknit community of interactivity would allow africans to have access to language skills, social skills. it would allow them to reclaim their identity much earlier and in a much more comprehensive way then africans enslaved elsewhere. by the mid-part of the 18th century, we find a number of africans purchasing their freedom or being emancipated. they buy homes and set up businesses and shots. by 1780, a group of africans come together in newport and
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form the free african unit. this union does three things. it raises and saves money to educate africans and established the first free african operator school in newport. it would also raise money for burials. the oldest and largest existing african burial ground is in newport. many of the markers were paid for and carved by fellow africans. the third most important piece if they wanted to reclaim their identity. this society do and school and through their church reclaim their african names and customs. that would be in place the 18th and into the early 19th century. this is important because today, there are at least 30 buildings s weretoric structure and
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where africans owned property, applied a trade, a raised their children. .t was a way of life it is the definition of who you are. my own family, on my mother's side, the date back over town generations. many of our ancestors did not look like george or mokhtar washington -- form are to washington. for me, this provided me an opportunity to talk about all of american history in the most inclusive manner. every generation of our family has maintained heirlooms and passed them on. we have 18th century and 19th century collections of clothing, books, documents, all of the things a family might have and cherish. it has been passed through our family. it gives us a strong sense of being real americans. untoldry is one that is
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of so many other americans to this day. on -- foundedund on the ideals of freedom. raceanyone, regardless of or ethnicity, have the right to settle and prosper here. the story of newport represents that story. >> our staff recently traveled to newport to learn about its history. or --ore at c-span.co c-span.org/city tour.
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tour, we'll explore the literary scene and history of fayetteville. c-span cities tour of fayetteville, arkansas, next on rday at noon eastern c-span 2's book tv and next sunday at 2:00 p.m. on american c-span 3. on orking with our cable affiliates as we explore america. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] week on q&a, mark bowden discusses his

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