Celebrate Black History Month 2022!

Benevolence and Success in the Era of Slavery: Duchess Quamino and William Ellery Channing

Link to full William Ellery Channing / Dutchess Quamino Story


WILLIAM ELLERY CHANNING (c.1817 – December 1901)
William Ellery Channing’s was impassioned public speaker who
became known as the “Father of Unitarianism”. Channing served
as the minister of the prestigious Federal Street Church in Boston
from 1803 to 1842. His religious thoughts and writings were
among the chief influences on the New England
Transcendentalists, authors Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry
David Thoreau.

He was an abolitionist. He may have been influenced by Duchess
Quamino who was his nanny in his early life. They fostered a lifelong friendship thereafter.

DUCHESS “CHARITY” QUAMINO (c. 1739 – June 1804)
Duchess “Charity” Quamino was a formerly enslaved woman who
worked as a nanny and cook in the household of William Ellery.
Duchess was also a talented baker, a wife and mother, and a rare
entrepreneur in the Era of Slavery, becoming well known as the
“Pastry Queen of Rhode Island.”

Duchess Quamino was born to a family on the Gold Coast of
Africa, in Senegal or Ghana, and was taken captive, sold into
slavery, and transported on the slave ship Elizabeth to Newport
where she became the property of attorney William Ellery and
his wife. Quamino grew into an entrusted nanny and excelled in
baking, a skill that would sustain her in later years.