Datebook: May 18 - Rhode Island 1st to Regulate Slavery, 360 Years Ago

May 18, 2012

Well before the Civil War, Rhode Island established the first law in North America regulating slavery. On this day, as part of the Acts and Orders of the General Court of Warwick, blacks or whites forced to serve another must be freed after 10 years upon arrival in Rhode Island. The fine: 40 pounds (money, not flesh). 

While an impressive, and bold move considering the time, the law was never fully enforced and cheap labor prevailed, namely caused by the demands of the sugar and rum market, of which Rhode Island was a cornerstone. It wouldn't be until 1784, when the General Assembly of Rhode Island passed the Gradual Emancipation Act, granting freedom to children born to slaves.

Thank goodness it‘s Friday, May 18

Retiring Paducah Tilghman High School Choir Director Art DeWeese conducts his final spring concert Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Carson Center.  Admission is free but reserved seats are available at the Carson Center Box Office, 270-450-4444.  Alumni soloists including Victor Mazzone, Jacob Waid, and Jennifer Poff join the Tilghman choirs performing as are the a cappella groups Concordia and Prime Rib.

Tomorrow there’s a program on Gentle Giants, Alligator Snapping Turtles at the Nature Station in Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.  It starts at 2:15 p.m.  Same time next Tuesday, the Nature Station’s program is titled For Goodness Snakes.  See for details.

The 31st Annual Little River Days Festival is underway in Hopkinsville .  There’s a 5K race and the Little River Bicycle Tour tomorrow.  Also concerts, carnival rides, commercial vendors and concessions.  Activities continue through 10 p.m. today, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. tomorrow and Sunday noon to 10.  See for schedule.

Enjoy the weekend.  See more at