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Forgotten History: Rhode Island and the Slave Trade


Upon entering the John Brown House Museum, visitors are introduced to the "Forgotten History: Rhode Island and the Slave Trade" exhibit.  In 1764, the one-hundred ton brigantine Sally embarked from Providence to West Africa on a slaving voyage. The ship was owned by the four brother firm of Nicholas Brown and Company. This voyage was one of roughly a thousand transatlantic slaving ventures launched by Rhode Islanders in the colonial and early national period, and one of the deadliest. Of the 196 Africans acquired by the ship's master, Esek Hopkins, at least 109 perished, some in a failed insurrection, others by suicide, starvation, and disease.  The insurrection is documented in the exhibit and the account has been reproduced and enlarged from the original journal. Although unsuccessful, as most slave trading voyage uprisings were, this revolt demonstrates the African slaves' determination to acquire their freedom.  The story of the brave and anonymous slaves onboard the Sally should be shared on a national level and connected to other accounts in the fight for freedom.

Visitor Information: Currently open to public.

Location: John Brown House Museum, 52 Power St, Providence, 02906

National Park Unit: No

Ownership: Morgan Grefe

Location Type: Program

People/Organizations Associated with the site: Esek Hopkins (Ship Master)