We continue our series One Square Mile: Narragansett Bay with a look at the bay’s role in the slave trade. Tens of thousands of slaves were traded on ships out of Narragansett Bay, more than any other part of North America.
Newport was at one time the largest slave-trading port in the region. To find out more, Rhode Island Public Radio's education reporter Elisabeth Harrison met Newport history teacher Matt Boyle at Bannisters Wharf, which was built by a merchant involved in the slave trade. She asked him what it would have looked like in mid-18th Century.
This week, we’re exploring Narragansett Bay. It’s the focus of a regular series called “One Square Mile,” where we dive deep into a particular area of Rhode Island. We’re taking a look at the people and places who make the bay so vital to the Ocean State.
The Newport Historical Society is working to attract more visitors by drawing more attention to the city’s revolutionary history. Historical Society director Ruth Taylor says they plan to revamp the historic Wanton-Lymon-Hazard house into a museum that brings Newport’s role in the American Revolution to life. Right now, said Taylor, places like Boston and Concord corner the revolutionary tourist market.
“They’re eating our lunch because really important things from the same period happened here. And it’s just less well known," said Taylor.
At Rhode Island College an ambitious project is underway. A group of faculty and students is building online tours of the capital city’s historic North Burial Ground.
Rhode Island College political science professor Francis Leazes admits he’s hooked on cemeteries. And in his view there is no finer from an historical perspective than Providence’s North Burial Ground on North Main Street.