|yeah, i stole this...and proud of it!
||[Apr. 30th, 2005|02:00 pm]
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Cuffe's political activism began in 1780 over taxation without representation in Dartmouth. Paul Cuffe, his brother John Cuffe, and other freed black men, Adventure Child, Samuel Gray, Pero Howland, Pero
Russell and Pero Coggeshall co-signed a petition to the General Court requesting that they be exempted from taxation because they, although free, were denied the right to vote.
They would have preferred the right to vote. But since they did not have that, they disagreed with paying taxes.
On May 14, 1780, an "Interesting Petition or Memorial from Negroes of Dartmouth for Exemption from Taxation" was read into the legislative record but it died in the state House of Representatives. On Dec. 19, 1780, a second petition, this time to the Bristol County Court of Common Pleas, also failed. On the orders of the Dartmouth Board of Assessors, the Cuffes were briefly jailed for refusing to pay taxes from 1778-80. In an April 24, 1781, letter to the Dartmouth selectmen, the Cuffes demanded a warrant to be placed before the next Town Meeting that called for either equality or taxation relief. The petition was ignored. The brothers admitted defeat in summer 1781 when their charges were dropped in lieu of a small payment.
Massachusetts extended the franchise to free blacks in 1783. Many believe that Paul Cuffe's protests about taxation without representation were instrumental to this victory.
**Pre-dating Thoreau's 'act' of civil disobedience by a few years. Yet, we don't really remember Cuffe...**