On June 3, 2021, students from Killingly High School gathered the community at the Westfield Congregational Church to remember the life of Cuffee and to share some of what they have discovered about the history of slavery and the enslaved in their town.
From the Killingly Villager by Margaret Weaver on June 4, 2021
Yesterday, June 3, I had the privilege of attending the dedication, in front of Westfield Congregational Church in Danielson, of a “Witness Stone” for Cuffee, a slave whom Mary Danielson purchased in February 1728/9.
“What is a Witness Stone?” you ask. The following is from the Project’s Web site: “’Only by coming to terms with history can we free ourselves to create a more just world.’ – Drew Gilpin Faust, Harvard’s 28th president, at The Universities and Slavery: Bound by History Conference at Harvard University on March 3, 20.”
These words embody the underlying motivation of the Witness Stones Project. In order for our communities to grow to the extent to which they reflect our ideals of justice and equality, it is essential for us to acknowledge and confront the painful times in our history when we have not lived up to those ideals. Through remembrance and reconciliation, we will be able to navigate a path toward healing and growth. It is with this in mind that the Witness Stones Project seeks to restore the history, and honor the humanity and contributions of the enslaved individuals who helped build our communities.
Students from Killingly High School will gather to remember and honor the life of Cuffee. Over the course of this school year, these students have used primary source documents, such as account books, wills and probate inventories, church and town records, indenture contracts, manumission deeds, and obituaries, to recover her life story and to understand more about the history of slavery in their community. Continue reading.