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Barbadoes, James G. (1796-1841)

James G. Barbadoes, abolitionist and colonizationist, was born in 1796. Barbadoes is thought to have come from the Island of Barbados, West Indies. He resided in Boston, Massachusetts for most of his life.  Around 1806, Barbadoes married Rebecca (maiden name unknown) and the couple had a son, who died in infancy, named after William Lloyd Garrison. However their second son, Fredrick G. Barbadoes, survived and became an abolitionist later in his life.

James Barbadoes operated a barbershop from 1821 to 1840 in Boston and kept a rooming house.  He was also involved in the African Baptist Church and African Lodge #459, a fraternal organization as well as the Massachusetts General Colored Association. In 1831 Barbadoes was a delegate to the Convention of the People of Color in Philadelphia, the first national convention of African Americans.  Two years later, in 1833, he was one of the founders of the American Anti-Slavery Society, the second largest abolitionist organization in the United States.  Barbadoes signed the organization’s Declaration of Sentiments and served on its board of managers. Barbadoes was also a member of the New England Anti-Slavery Society.

Barbadoes was a life long supporter of abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison and his newspaper, The Liberator.  He was one of three Boston abolitionists who signed a letter welcoming Garrison home from England, asking him to come to a meeting of colored citizens who wanted to show their support for his efforts. Barbadoes also brought to Boston’s attention the wrongful imprisonment of free black sailors in Southern ports including his brother Robert H. Barbadoes who was kidnapped in New Orleans and was jailed for five months before finally being released.

James G. Barbadoes, and two of his sons, died from malaria when the Barbadoes family moved from Boston to Jamaica in 1841. The family hoped to better their economic circumstances.  After the deaths, Rebecca and the remaining Barbadoes children returned to Boston.

Sources:
Rayford W. Logan and Michael R. Winston, eds., Dictionary of American Negro Biography (New York: W. W. Norton, 1982); Roy E. Finkenbine, "Barbadoes, James G."; http://www.anb.org/articles/15/15-00036.html; American National Biography Online Feb. 2000. Access Date: Mon May 12, 2008.

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University of Washington, Seattle

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