We often wonder where our kids go to school after completing our Head Start program. While our Providence neighborhoods are vibrant with many schools, there is one that draws my attention as I zigzag the local streets on my way to work. The Paul Cuffee School in the West Broadway area, a place where I attended many moons ago when it was St. Mary’s Elementary School. This got me wondering – who Paul Cuffe (original spelling) was and why did they name a school after him?
Born in 1759, Paul Cuffe was an American Quaker businessman, sea captain and abolitionist. He successfully ran a lucrative shipping empire, which made him one of the most wealthy African Americans and Native Americans in the United States. He was also known for establishing the first racially integrated school in nearby Westport, Massachusetts. He was definitely a man ahead of his time.
While Head Start provides a solid foundation for our young children in our urban neighborhoods, Paul Cuffee School is a fine example of those larger steps these children take to achieve great things in life.
You can read more about Paul (Cuffe) Cuffee the man here, and more about the Paul Cuffee school in Providence, here.