Slavery in Rhode Island: Contributors
Paul Davis joined the Providence Journal reporting staff in 1988, after working for three Florida newspapers. A Brown University graduate, he has covered business, and real estate, and the schools, local governments and people of South County. A 2005 series on the Narragansett Indian Tribe, which he wrote with reporter Katie Mulvaney, won last year’s Metcalf Award for Diversity in the Media. Also in 2005, Paul wrote a three-part series tracing the journey of a young slave from Africa to a plantation in South Carolina where she was named Priscilla.
To report last this six-part slave series, Paul read dozens of books and articles about the slave trade and life in early Rhode Island, and interviewed historians and other academics in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Georgia. His search for original documents took him to historical societies and libraries in Bristol, Newport, Providence and South Kingstown. And, he spent weeks deciphering the tattered letters of slave merchants, the diary of the Rev. Ezra Stiles and ship logs, and reading early editions of Colonial newspapers to find advertisements for slave auctions and stories of slave revolts.
Frieda Squires, a photographer for the Journal since 1981, received her training in the Navy. Her first job was in her hometown of Ada, Okla. At The Journal, she photographed the America’s Cup races in Australia in 1986 and traveled to the Middle East in 1988 during the first Gulf War. She also provided photographs for the Priscilla slave series.
She has won awards for local photography from the National Press Photographers Association. For the slave series, Frieda visited historic homes, walked through cemeteries, often at night, and tracked down portraits of slave traders.
George Sylvia has lived in Rhode Island for most of his life. He began working at The Providence Journal as a graphic artist in 1977 after earning a bachelor of fine arts degree in visual design from Southeastern Massachusetts University (now UMass Dartmouth). He has received several awards.
George has a strong interest in history, especially Rhode Island maritime history, and eagerly accepted the task of researching material for the themed timelines that accompanied the six-day series. He has sailed on Narragansett Bay for more than 30 years, the last 20 out of Bristol Harbor where many slaving voyages began.