Minutes of the African Benevolent Society

Object number
Minutes of the African Benevolent Society
1807 – 1824
This volume contains the meeting minutes of the African Benevolent Society from 1807 to 1824. The opening entry, dated December 21, 1807, is a copy of the organization’s constitution that outlines two of the group’s main goals: establish a free school for any and all persons of color and help the colored poor. The minutes mostly cover Annual Meeting proceedings and Society business having to deal with the operation of the school, allocating funds from the treasury, etc. Although this volume ends in 1824, we know that the school persisted until 1842 when the city of Newport accepted the task of educating the city’s children.  

Highlights include correspondence with the African Female Benevolent Society and minutes describing struggles keeping the African Free School open.  This volume gives insight to the lives of Arthur Tikey Flagg, a founding member of both the ABS and the African Union Society (c. 1780) and his son Arthur Flagg, Jr. Both served as instructors at the African Free School and held leadership positions within the Society.  

This minute book was presented by the African Humane Society to the African Benevolent Society February 11, 1808. The entries are in chronological order with one or two exceptions.  
Credit Line
Gift of the United Congregational Church
Object Types
minutes (administrative records), volumes (documents by form)
African American
Free schools
Related People & Organizations
Flagg, Arthur Tikey, 1739-1810 (contributor)
Female African Benevolent Society (associated)