BRISTOL MIDDLE PASSAGE PORT MARKER PROJECT COMMITTEE TO UNVEIL MEMORIAL LOCATION
The Bristol Middle Passage Port Marker Project (BMPPMP) invites the public to attend a Ceremony of Recognition at 10AM on February 25th, 2023, at the town-approved site chosen for the installation of a memorial marker in Independence Park, Bristol, Rhode Island. At the ceremony, a temporary sign at the permanent memorial location will be unveiled. Brief remarks will be given about the history of the Transatlantic Human Trade and the involvement of Rhode Island and the Town of Bristol. Beginning in the 17th century, Rhode Island enslaved Indigenous peoples from throughout southern New England and forced them into labor both in their ancestral homelands and in the plantation economies of the Caribbean. In the same period, they also brought enslaved Africans to plantations in the Americans and West Indies, as well as to Rhode Island, as a part of the Transatlantic Human Trade. Although historical research is ongoing, SlaveVoyages.org estimates that between 1649and 1819, at least 953 voyages to Africa were conducted by ships registered in Rhode Island, enslaving over 113,279 individuals. Of this count, Bristol-registered ships were responsible for at least 166 voyages. According to the Bristol Historical & Preservation Society at least 600 enslaved people lived in Bristol between the town's founding in 1680and 1808, when the Transatlantic Human Trade was outlawed under United States law. Professor Bernard Freamon will offer his remarks on the occasion. Freamon is Co-Chair of the BMPPMP, and serves on the faculty of the Roger Williams University School of Law. Professor Freamon is the Director of the Race and the Foundations of American Law course at Roger Williams. He recently taught an innovative course on slavery and human trafficking based in Zanzibar, Tanzania. "I don't just teach about law, I teach about justice, “said Professor Freamon. "The memorial marker overlooking the port of Bristol is one step in honoring the people who not only survived the harrowing voyage across the Atlantic, but also demonstrated incredible resilience and persistence that ultimately led to meaningful contributions to the Bristol community, and to America. Our goal is to recognize and honor that story, share educational forums to highlight that history, and to create a safe place for difficult and crucial dialogue to take place."