Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Newport Slave Opens Music School

1st Congregational Church,  49 Division Street, Newport, RI

Newport Gardner was the first African American to open a music school and church for former slaves in colonial Newport, RI.  A former slave who purchased his freedom, he was well educated and an accomplished musician and composer.

Newport Gardner, born in Ghana in 1746, was sold into slavery to Caleb Gardner by a sea captain who promised his mother he would have a good education.  His African name was Occramer Marycoo.   He eventually did received an education in music and French as a slave, and was known for his great aptitude for music.  In 1791, he purchased his family's freedom from the proceeds of a lottery ticket an started his own singing school.  He published his first song in 1803.

                              Union Congregational Church, 49 Division Street, Newport, RI

Gardner established the African Free Union Society with the help of Dr. Samuel Hopkins, an abolitionist.  This society was a benevolent society established to help former slaves obtain help with finances to return to Africa, food, clothing, and medicine.  He then established the first African American Church in 1833,  the Union Congregational Church for the African Americans in Newport, RI out of the African Free Union Society.  The church first met in homes and then had its residence at 49 Division Street. The building still stands today.

Newport Gardner composed many songs, one of which was an anthem for the church which was the most known among his works.  Published in 1826 in Boston, Massacusetts, the words are as follows:

                                                       The Promise Anthem

"Hear the words of the Lord, O ye African race; hear the words of Promise.  But it is not meet to take the children's bread and cast it to thhe dogs.  Truth, Lord, yet the dogs eat of the crumbs that fall from their masters table.  O African, trust in the Lord: Amen.  Hallelujah, praise the Lord, Praise ye the Lord, Praise ye the Lord,   Hallelujah, amen."

Newport Gardner also established the first school, the African Free School for the education of African American freed slave children and advertised it in the Newport Mercury Newspaper on March 25, 1808.   The school, located at 8 Division Street, was free and Newport Gardner asked for cooperation of the whites in encouraging the African former slaves to attend.

In 1824, the church was renamed the Union Colored Congregational Church.  The church eventually moved to Thames Street where its name was changed to Mount Olivet Batist Church and then to West Broadway in Newport, where the name was changed again to Community Baptist Church. Community Baptist Church is still holding services to this day.

Newport Gardner and his group had a desire to return to their native homeland.  They eventually returned to evangelize the citizens, but soon died of diseases shortly after they arrived in Africa in 1826.  Newport Gardner was eighty years old.

The RI Kids Create Music School is trying to raise funds to establish a school in Portsmouth, RI.  We appreciate any support you can give us.  Please donate to our project at the top of this blog page.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Promote My Book Tour - I Will Blog about Your Business

For all of you adults who think you are too old to learn how to play piano, here is a course just for you.  Learn how to play your favorite songs!  I am teaching lessons on-line through webinars and one-on-one through Skype.  Join me now!  Sign up and encourage your friend to sign up as well!   Lessons are $25 per half hour - must pay four weeks in advance.   There is safety in numbers.....Don't procrastinate any longer.  All you need is a keyboard, digital piano, or upright - must be tuned!  You must have an open mind.  You can do it!  Keyboards need 65 keys minimum.

Win two free lessons when you support my book tour project on Kickstarter.  I am raising money for a school building.  Please share this posting in your social networks.  I have received some book orders since I started the campaign.  I also have a GoFundMe campaign for marketing funds.  Please take a look at both campaigns and support one or both.  I appreciate it!  If you have a business, I will blog about your business if you support the Kickstarter campaign. 

I a, promoting two books - Retailers Guide to Merchant Services, and Beyond My Imagination, which contains a music program for beginning students.   Both are available online at Amazon and Barnes and Nobles.  I am grateful for any support you could give me.  I appreciate my loyal readers.  Please subscribe to the blog so to get the updates.