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Rhode Island Digital Archive


Title
Description
Date

Administration and Planning

2019-11-13

The presence of African-Americans looms long and large over the history of Rhode Island. Early in its establishment as an English colony in the 1630s, the colonial legislature promulgated a law that prohibited "the common course practiced among Englishmen to buy Negroes" and sought to prevent "such practice among us" (1652). As it turned out, however, this law could not override the influence of the colony's limited natural resources and its advantageous maritime location. By the end of the seventeenth century, these conditions had induced some of the colony's inhabitants to seek their fortunes by turning to the lucrative trans-Atlantic trade in African "negroes", while other individuals in the colony who could afford it purchased and kept imported slaves for their own households. These events comprised a long chapter in the history of the African-American experience in Rhode Island, but it was not to be the final one in that history. As events unfolded, by the middle of the nineteenth century, it had become completely unlawful to own slaves in Rhode Island. The digitized records made available here hold some of the stories that make up this history. The records are drawn from the legislative Acts and Resolves, Petitions to the General Assembly, and the correspondence of Rhode Island's Governors. These records represent a selection from a larger volume of documentation held by the Rhode Island State Archives covering the experiences of African-Americans in Rhode Island. In this selection one encounters individuals who owned slaves and others engaged in the slave trade. One also finds documentation from public officials concerning the economic, military, moral, and social ramifications of the presence of African-Americans in Rhode Island. Also included are records of Rhode Islanders who protested against the importation of "negroes" and who argued against the institution of slavery, both in Rhode Island and elsewhere in the nation. Especially in the petitions, one can catch glimpses of African-Americans themselves in action - in moments of defiance of their masters, as well as when they took active measures in their own behalf to gain equal rights.

2018-03-16

1998-128

2019-10-25

Andiamo

2019-06-20

RG 005. Office of the Attorney General

2019-05-28

RG 057. Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals

2019-05-02

Blackstone River Valley collection

2019-11-08

Business and Industry

2019-01-10

Census

2019-05-13

Cities and Towns

2019-11-14

CCC

2019-02-01

resource_404

2018-12-11

C#00475

2019-01-08

Constitution

2018-12-10

RG 059. Department of Corrections

2019-05-02

resource_446

2019-05-02

RG 004. Department of State

2019-02-11

Digital Resources

2018-03-05

MLK

2019-01-08

Economic Development

2019-04-15

Education

2019-04-16

Environment and Agriculture

2019-11-13

Famous Rhode Islanders

2019-05-06

RG001 General Assembly

2018-08-02

RG002 Office of the Governor

2019-02-11

Graphics and State Symbols

2019-05-13

1994-19

2019-03-15

RG007 Department of Health

2019-02-13

Gaspee Commission Documents

2018-04-20

C#637

2018-12-19

Judiciary

2019-11-13

2011-15

2019-01-11

Legislative Index

2019-05-16

Maps and Plans

2018-12-11

Military

2019-05-01

Narragansett Indian Records Collection

2017-03-07

New Digital Resources

2019-10-04

Postcards

2019-05-01

Recreation

2018-12-11

Reports

2018-12-11

Rhode Island History

2019-11-14

Rhode Island Independence Day

2019-05-01

Rhode Island Memories: The Early Years

2019-01-18

digital_object_2

2018-10-30

archival_object_1627

2019-06-10

RI Historic Resources Archives

2018-12-11

State House

2018-12-11

Lively Experiment Files

2018-08-24

Town and City Incorporations and Borders

2019-05-01

Trademarks

2018-12-10

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