Happy Birthday Paul Cuffe!
Today, January 17, 2020 is Paul Cuffe’s 261st birthday.
(Text written by David Cole and artwork copyright Ray Shaw)
Why is Paul Cuffe so important to the people of Westport and the World?
- Born on Cuttyhunk to an African father and Native American mother.
- Lived in Westport most of his life.
- Became a very successful sea captain, shipbuilder and businessman.
- Built the first school in Westport open to all children regardless of color.
- Oversaw building of Friends Meeting House in Westport.
- Supported equal rights for all persons.
- Sought to abolish slavery and the slave trade.
- Sought to improve the lives of the people of Africa.
- Helped his friends and neighbors who were facing hard times.
- Was honored and praised around the world when he died.
- More than 10 books have been written about him.
Who were Paul Cuffe’s parents?
His father, Cuff Slocum, was born in West Africa about 1717. He was captured and brought on a slave ship to Newport, Rhode Island in 1728 when he was only 11 years. He was bought by Ebenezer Slocum, a wealthy farmer in Dartmouth.
His mother, Ruth Moses, was a Native American, born in Harwich on Cape Cod.