Paul Cuffe | His Work, Vision, and Living Legacy
This topic explores the work, vision and living legacy of Captain Paul Cuffe—an abolitionist, entrepreneur, merchant, whaler, navigator and much more.
Paul Cuffe was born on the island of Cuttyhunk (off the coast of New Bedford) in 1759 as the free-born son of Kofi Slocum, a formerly enslaved West African (an Ashanti from modern-day Ghana) and Ruth Moses a Wampanoag woman. After his father’s death, when he was 13, Cuffe took to the sea and engaged in many other pursuits in order to take care of his mother and his family. Eventually, working with his brothers, Cuffe became one of the wealthiest men of color in the country, rising to national repute, even becoming one of the first men of color to have a formal meeting with a sitting U.S. President.
Despite his successes, Cuffe lived in a society where slavery was still legal, and segregation and lack of equality for people of color was the norm. Throughout his life he spoke out and worked for equality.
Want to learn more?
Here are some additional resources:
Paul Cuffe: An Early Example of African American and Native American Diasporism and Cosmopolitanism
Who was Captain Paul Cuffe?
Paul Cuffe: Man Ahead of His Time