It’s always good to see Paul Cuffe get well-deserved attention for his many accomplishments but two corrections need to be made in the Feb. 28, 2013 story “Capt. Paul Cuffe made waves in business.”
His father, Kofi (Coffe) Slocum, enslaved and brought here from Africa, had purchased his own freedom from his Quaker owner before Paul was born, so Paul was never a slave.
James Forten of Philadelphia, known as the wealthiest African American in the country and like Paul, very much a self-made man, was, indeed, a great supporter of Cuffe’s plans, but he was not a Quaker. Forten and his wife and daughters and granddaughters were in the same abolitionist circles as many Quakers. Sarah Forten contributed to The Liberator; Charlotte Forten, educated in Salem, Mass., (one of the few places with unsegregated schools) went to South Carolina’s Sea Islands to teach the newly freed at the end of the Civil War.
But, sorry to say, we Quakers cannot claim the Fortens.
Here’s another fine point. Cuffe studied Sierra Leone carefully in light of his goal to create a Christian community for Africans and trade between Africa and the U.S. not arising out of enslaving natives.
It should be made clearer that Cuffe did make two trips to Africa, but only one with passengers for the colony. The first was by way of England to negotiate various licenses and British abolitionists’ support for the colony; the second was the one time he brought passengers, not as many as he had hoped and he ended up paying for and outfitting most of them.
He had plans for another voyage when he became ill and died.
Donna L. McDaniel
In their argument before the U.S. Supreme Court lawyers for Shelby County, Alabama contend that their county and other jurisdictions covered by Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act are not the same as they were 48 years ago; hence, they should not be subjected to special federal scrutiny regarding possible racial discrimination against black voters.
They and their supporters maintain that more African Americans hold elective office in the affected regions than ever before and this is proof that special federal inspection in unnecessary — and unfair.
This sounds a little bit like the argument to withdraw federal troops from the South in the 1870s because Reconstruction had “gone so well.” Incidentally, more blacks also held elective office in that region than ever before in the 1870s.
The decision to treat the former Confederate States “fairly” and to permit them to manage their own political affairs unleashed nearly a century of racial violence, intimidation and Jim Crow segregation. In the arguments before the Supreme Court last month, was the comparison made between the repeal of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act and the withdrawal of federal troops from the South in the 1870s? If not, I wonder why the comparison wasn’t made?