"A Little Lower than the Angels" in New York

On November 12th, Break A Leg Productions will conduct an professional staged reading of "A Little Lower than the Angels" at the Bloomingdale Library in Manhattan. The characters and events occurring in this play are totally fictional; however, the major role that the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations played in the American Slave Trade between 1725 and 1807 is a historical fact. During the period, the infamous trade triangle of Newport distilled rum for African slaves for West Indies molasses and sugar was a vital component of Newport’s economy. The “Guinea” trade as it was called was practiced during the Colonial period and after the Revolution, resulting in the enslavement of 106,000 Africans; the Revolutionary War ended the trade temporarily, but after the war, the trade was revived not only in Newport, but also in Bristol, Warren, Portsmouth, and Providence. As pointed out by scholar Jay Coughtry, in The Notorious Triangle , the “‘American slave trade’ might better be termed the ‘Rhode Island slave trade’.” This play is a fictionalized account of how that trade might have influenced the lives of a handful early American patriots and their “property.”

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