The North didn’t have slaves, they had “servants”.
Via Worcester Telegram
A plan to open what would be the nation’s only museum centered on the trans-Atlantic slave trade would focus on the Episcopal Church’s role in its history and the sometimes-buried legacy of slavery in northern states like Rhode Island.
The museum at the shuttered Cathedral of St. John, a church where slaves once worshipped, would explore how the church benefited from the trade and helped bring it to an end, said Bishop Nicholas Knisely of the Diocese of Rhode Island.
”Our story’s mixed,” he said. ”We haven’t talked in the country about the role of religion and religious voices in abolition and the slave trade.”[…]
A Brown report issued in 2006 found that about 60 percent of all slave-trading voyages launched from North America came from Rhode Island. More than 1,000 slave-trading voyages were launched from Rhode Island, the report says, and 80 of those came from one family, the DeWolfs of Bristol.
Benefits from slavery
James DeWolf Perry, executive director of the Massachusetts-based Tracing Center, which works to promote greater awareness of the legacy of slavery, is a descendent who is working with the diocese. His great-grandfather was bishop of Rhode Island, chose St. John’s as the diocese’s cathedral and served as the denomination’s presiding bishop — its leader in the United States.
”What’s dropped out of our public memory, largely as a result of the Civil War, is that the North had a great deal of slavery,” he said. ”We like to talk about as if most Northerners were anti-slavery and abolitionists.”
In fact, the North benefited economically from slavery, and the Episcopal Church ”institutionally was deeply complicit in slavery, benefited from it,” he said.
Several museums in the U.S. address slavery, but hardly any are specifically devoted to it, Perry said. One, the Whitney Plantation, is opening in Louisiana next month; its focus is plantation history and slavery in the South.