Professor Nicholas F. Bellantoni will discuss the history of the Foreign Mission School, which was an educational institution which existed between 1817 and 1826 in Cornwall, Connecticut. It was established by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions to bring Christianity and Western Culture to non-white people by educating missionaries of their own culture.
This talk is an extra event tied to the library’s Harris Sisters Month in April. It will explore similarities between the racist episodes that occurred at Prudence Crandall’s school for young black women in Canterbury and that, just a few years earlier, closed mission school in Cornwall.
The founding pupil of the Foreign Mission School was Henry ʻŌpūkahaʻia (ca. 1792—1818), an 18-year-old Hawaiian refugee from a blood feud, left by a ship's captain in New Haven in 1810. His circumstances inspired efforts to shelter and educate him and others, some from Native American tribes, many displaced from great distances - Asia, Europe, Polynesia, and Africa - as missionaries. Henry’s story was featured in Dr. Bellantoni’s recent book The Long Journeys Home: The Repatriations of Henry ‘Ōpūkaha’ia and Albert Afraid of Hawk.
Nicholas F. Bellantoni is an associate adjunct professor in the anthropology department at the University of Connecticut and Emeritus Connecticut State Archaeologist at the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History.
Copies of The Long Journeys Home will be available for sale and signing. Otis Library is located at 261 Main Street in Norwich and is accessible to people with disabilities.