1812 - 1864: Reverend Edward Scott

An African-American Civil Rights Activist in Providence Before the Civil War

Reverend Edward Scott was a political activist and anti-slavery agitator who had, himself, escaped from slavery in Virginia before becoming a minister and community leader.

Scott was born a slave in Virginia around 1812. He freed himself as well as others, eventually settling in Maine where he became a Baptist preacher. He led the Second Free Will Baptist Church (also known as the Pond Street Baptist Church) from about 1846 until 1864, living first on Angle Street as a boarder with the Gears family, also members of the church, and eventually with his wife at 54 Pond Street. Scott also worked as a clock and watch repairer with a shop at 98 High Street (today's Westminster Street).

In 1848, Scott led a public meeting that was widely attended to protest the expulsion of an African-American passenger from the Stonington and Providence Rail Road, one of the last unintegrated rail systems in New England. After 1854, he led the August 1st Emancipation Day celebration that promoted abolition in this country. The event included an invitation to all to march in a procession through the city and ended with speeches and a collation on Smith Hill. After Federal troops captured the South Carolina coastal islands during the Civil War, Scott travelled there to work with the Freedmen's Aid Society--helping the newly emancipated people adjust to freedom.

Reverend Scott died in South Carolina around 1864.

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Interstate 95, Providence, RI, Near Pond Street (41.818333, -71.417584) ~ Inaccesible