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Date(s) - 05/24/2019
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

St. John's Unitarian Universalist Church


Friday May 24     7 – 9 pm

St. John’s UU Church, 320 Resor Ave.

In the feature documentary Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North, filmmaker Katrina Browne discovers that her New England ancestors were the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history. She and nine cousins retrace the Triangle Trade in a remarkable journey which brings them face-to-face with the history and legacy of New England’s hidden enterprise.

From 1769 to 1820, DeWolf fathers, sons and grandsons sailed their ships from Bristol, Rhode Island to West Africa with rum to trade for African men, women and children. Over 10,000 captives were taken to plantations that the DeWolfs owned in Cuba or were sold at auction in such ports as Havana and Charleston. Sugar and molasses were then brought from Cuba to the family-owned rum distilleries in Bristol. They amassed an enormous fortune. By the end of his life, James DeWolf had been a U.S. Senator and was reportedly the second richest man in the United States.

His descendants’ quest to understand the privileges they enjoy as a result of their family’s human trafficking can help others understand how forced labor fueled economic development that created 21st Century opportunities in a country where slaves’ descendants have not yet reached that promised land.

Broadcast by PBS in 2008, the documentary is not available for streaming online.  The May 24 screening and discussion will be free and open to the public. Advance registration requested but not required at For information go to or contact

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