Slavery In Rhode Island–Who Woulda Thunk It?

by Al Benson Jr.

Awhile back now an honest writer named Jeff McDonough wrote an article that appeared in the Jamestown Press  in Jamestown, Rhode Island. It had to do with slavery in Rhode Island. I realize that our current crop of what passes for historians seldom wants to deal with slavery north of Mason-Dixon, the idea being that we are not supposed to even realize that it existed up there. And should it be admitted, which is rare, it will be downplayed almost to non-existence.

So Mr. McDonough’s article was quite revelatory, and you can bet no major media picked up on it. After all, they wouldn’t want to confuse their readers with the facts.

McDonough noted that: “Few people living today in Rhode Island realize that the slave trade was once a vital component of the Ocean State’s economy. ‘The numbers are astonishing’ says Ray Rickman, project director of an exhibit dealing with the slave trade in Rhode Island. In an 80-year period, people in Rhode Island got rich from the slave trade.”

According to Rickman slavery was pretty widespread in Rhode Island. “Slaves worked on South County farms and in the mansions of Newport. But it was the slave trade that was the number one financial activity for Rhode Island from 1720 to 1807.” McDonough noted that many Rhode Islanders were involved in the slave trade and Rickman noted that “Rhode Islanders are poorly educated in school about slavery.” Don’t you wonder why? In the War of Northern Aggression Rhode Island fought for the Union as part of “Massa Lincoln’s” massive army of emancipation (riddled with Marxists) and as the winners get to write the “history” books you can bet the farm that they wanted to portray themselves as looking good and the South as looking bad.

Some may claim the North got rid of its slaves decades before the South did. Donnie Kennedy’s book Myths Of American Slavery  gives the lie to much of that cultural fertilizer. But even so, slavery was still slavery, whether it took place in the North in 1760 or the South in 1860. If it was wrong for the South, then why was it not also wrong for the North? Why aren’t Northerners just as guilty as Southerners? The only difference involved is the time frame and that is not as far separated as we’ve been taught to believe it is.

And as far as guilt is concerned, there’s more than enough to go around and it hardly all belongs to the white Southerner. In his monumental work on the slave trade Hugh Thomas noted, on page 13, that: “If one is looking for villains in this matter, and some are, one should certainly indeed look at royal families more severely than at Jewish ones: I am partly thinking of the rulers of Benin; the kings of Ashanti, Congo and Dahomey; and the Vili rulers of Loango, who sold great numbers of slaves over many generations…” All of these above-mentioned rulers, starting with Benin, were black. That’s one more fact you seldom hear expounded–the fact that blacks captured and sold other blacks as slaves, to whites or whoever would pay for them.

More information is starting to seep out abut this now, thanks to the Internet that Obama would like to censor, but for years, this was a subject that was hardly mentioned. We were led to believe that white slavers just sailed over to Africa and kidnapped black Africans as they could find them. In reality, it seldom happened that way, but if you are a socialist historian with an agenda to press that’s going to be the line you push–true or not. Back in those days whites just didn’t wander around in Africa looking for slaves to kidnap. It was way too dangerous. They always did business with black slave dealers because it was much, much safer.

As time goes on and these little tidbits of information about the slave trade begin to slip out, more and more people are shocked to learn that they don’t really know as much about this subject as they think they do.

If they continue to rely on government school ‘history” books then they will continue in blissful ignorance, as the writers of those “history” books intended that they should.


Myths Of American Slavery  by Walter D. Kennedy, Pelican Publishing Co.

The Slave Trade  by Hugh Thomas, a Touchstone book, published by Simon and Schuster.

The South Was Right   by James R. Kennedy and Walter D. Kennedy, Pelican Publishing Co.

Lincoln’s Marxists  by Al Benson Jr. and Walter D. Kennedy, Pelican Publishing Co.

The War Between the States–America’s Uncivil War  by John J. Dwyer, Bluebonnet Press.

6 thoughts on “Slavery In Rhode Island–Who Woulda Thunk It?

  1. AL

    The State only recently officially changed its name to Rhode Island from the original name of Rhode Island Plantations.

    I have been there and seen the slave quarters or cells where they held them awaiting their date on the auction block. That is a bit of messy history for RI so that is why they dropped the name Plantations.

    I took the liberty of adding this to the Society blog (Sentry blog) at our site


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