Paul Cuffe Day: June 13 – Celebrate an American Hero in Westport

The celebration of the 250-year-old son of a freed slave & a Wampanoag woman who many, including myself, consider to be a neglected “Founding Father” of the Commonwealth will begin at 3:00 pm.  

Materials related to Paul Cuffe and his amazing life will be displayed.

Westport – Paul Cuffe died more than 190 years ago, but in the same year that Gov. Deval Patrick proclaimed Jan. 17 to be Paul Cuffe Day, the Westport and New Bedford historical societies will mark his 250th birthday with a celebration June 13.

Cuffe is most known for refusing to pay taxes because, as a black man, he wasn’t allowed to vote. But Cuffe – also spelled Cuffee – also built one of the first free public schools in the United States for both blacks and whites, and was active in abolitionist campaigns.

On June 13, the Westport and New Bedford historical societies are sponsoring the anniversary of Cuffe’s birth by rededicating his monument at the Westport Friends Meeting House at 930 Main Road in Central Village. Representatives from the town, and the Quaker, African-American and Native American communities are scheduled to speak.

It has been a significant year for Cuffe. In January, U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., gave a brief speech honoring Cuffe at the House of Representatives, and Patrick proclaimed the first Paul Cuffe Day in Massachusetts.…

My only regret is that the New Media Summit & Young Republican convention are the same day and that I won’t be able to attend the Paul Cuffe celebrations as well, I have had a long-ago pre-planned trip to Washington DC (White House & Capitol tours, etc) in conjunction with my upcoming birthday.  

As the article notes, I wrote my 215-page Master’s thesis on Paul Cuffe (Paul Cuffe: A Study of His Life and the Status of His Legacy in “Old Dartmouth”).  I have also recently given a lecture on Paul Cuffe to the National Park Service at the New Bedford National Whaling Historic Park.  

I encourage anyone who isn’t already booked to do something elsewhere on June 13 to take some time out to learn about and celebrate the life of a real American hero who should be the pride of Massachusetts!  

About Brock N. Cordeiro