Statement regarding the new statue of Blackstone in Pawtucket

Current Affairs / Reconciliation / Rhode Island

My statement regarding the statute of the Rev. William Blackstone in Pawtucket RI:

It was with surprise that we learned today of the William Blackstone statue erected in Pawtucket. It is regrettable that such a monument would be approved and given municipal funding without seeking more input from our Indigenous neighbors. Colonizers like Blackstone are a troubling feature of our American history, and we would do well to reflect on the opinions of those who were on this land before us when considering public commemorations. We can only hope that this statue does indeed spark more conversation and a deeper look into the wrongdoing of the past, as the organizers of this effort say is their intent.

William Blackstone was a priest in the Church of England, precursor to the Episcopal Church in America. The “Doctrine of Discovery”, the outlook which allowed Blackstone and his followers to take this land from its inhabitants, was repudiated by the Episcopal Church at its General Convention in 2009

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Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...

1 Comment

  1. Thomas N Rightmyer says

    No evidence he ever served a congregation in America.
    Blackstone, William, 1596 1623 1675 1675
    (Blaxton) Baptized March 5, 1596, son of John and Agnes Hawley Blaxton of Horncastle, Lincolnshire. Cambridge: Emmanuel College, admitted sizar May 16, 1614, B.A. 1617/8, M.A. 1621. Deacon [ ], Priest May 23, 1619 by Bishop [ ] of Peterborough.
    Came to New England with Robert Gorges’ colony September, 1623, settled in Weymouth 1623-25, then lived as a literary hermit at “Shawmut,” on the site of Boston near what is now known as Blackstone River. On first list of freemen of Massachusetts 1630. Supposed to have said he left England because he did not like the lord bishops and would not now be under the lord brethren. In 1634 moved to Study Hill, now Cumberland (Lonsdale), about three miles from Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Died in Pawtucket May 26, 1675, Wednesday after Whitsunday, buried at Rehoboth, Massachusetts May 28, 1675, leaving a large library of 186 volumes. No evidence he ever served a congregation in America.
    Married at Boston July 4, 1659 Sarah, widow of John Stevenson of Boston; she died June, 1673, leaving a son John who married and had descendants.
    DAB 2:319, Pennington “New England” HM 10(1941):249, 252, Sprague 1-3, Venn I 162, Weis NE 33, [Bliss Rehoboth [ ], Tilton Rehoboth has descendants, Mewman letter in Arnold Rhode Island II:568-70, Sargent Blackstone Family Blackstone Lineage], HAEC 86-87, 93-95 (FS) as Blaxton.

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