What do we know of Paul Cuffee, the man, at Paul Cuffee School? A basic yet profound question that inspired a week’s worth of activities to learn about and celebrate our namesake.
Long term board member and URI professor of Africana Studies, Earl Smith III, kicked off the week with a short biography of Paul Cuffee, concentrating on Cuffee’s efforts to repatriate freed African Americans to Sierra Leone and emphasizing the importance of using credible primary source documents in any research.
From there, each grade researched an aspect of Cuffee’s life using source documents and presented selected findings on Cuffee’s personal life, his professional life and political ideals, his Quakerism and social activism and his efforts to return freed slaves to Africa.
A highlight of the week was a visit from Board member and Cuffee descendant, Su Almeida, who met with students and answered questions about Paul Cuffee. The week culminated with a “Thought of the Week” led by students about the value of education–one of Cuffee’s core values.