In colonial Fairfield, Connecticut, free and slave Africans worked the ships that delivered New England rum and Yankee notions to Africa — traded to African slave traders for more slaves. Towns like Fairfield grew affluent producing goods, barrel staves, foodstuffs and trinkets for the West Indies, where the majority of the slaves acquired would end up. As a young man Frederick Douglass worked the Baltimore shipyards helping to build fast slavers for New England merchants for the same purpose.
Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org
Connecticut and the Slave Trade
“Connecticut conducted another census in 1774. With a population of 4863, Fairfield was the eleventh largest town in Connecticut in 1774. The 4863 persons included 4544 whites and 319 blacks, giving Fairfield the highest percentage of black population in the colony. Fairfield’s growing trade encouraged the growth of its black population. Approximately three out of every four blacks in Fairfield in the 1770’s were slaves. Most of them were men who worked as laborers or household servants; a smaller number of women were household servants; and even a smaller number were children.
Most slaves were denied the pleasure of residing, with or without the benefit of marriage, with a member of the opposite sex. Captain David Judson owned a married couple and their child, but more typical was Hezekiah Gold, who owned four men, “a wench,” a young man, and two boys. Slavery was a luxury that Fairfield came to afford as it became more affluent. Most free blacks in Fairfield worked as laborers, either on the docks or on board ship.”
(Fairfield, The Biography of a Community, Thomas J. Farnham, Fairfield Historical Society, 1988, pp. 71-72)