Captain Paul Cuffe Park

Captain Paul Cuffe Park was expanded and re-dedicated on September 21, 2018. Learn more about the exhibition “Captain Paul Cuffe: His Work, Vision, and Living Legacy”

Cuffe was a Quaker businessman, sea captain, patriot, and abolitionist who lived in the SouthCoast. Born on Cuttyhunk Island, he was of Wampanoag and Ashanti descent. Cuffe built a lucrative shipping empire and established the first racially integrated school in Westport, Massachusetts. He rose to prominence to become one of the wealthiest men of color in the nation. His petition to protest taxation of people of color while withholding the right to vote was an important step in granting full citizenship rights in Massachusetts, and he was one of the first black men to have a formal meeting with a sitting U.S. president.

To honor his legacy, the Whaling Museum established Captain Paul Cuffe Park in 2011 near the site where he operated his store, Cuffe & Howards. The construction of the Wattles Jacobs Education Center, which opened in 2015, afforded the opportunity to expand Cuffe Park and elevate this tribute to Cuffe’s regional impact as a prominent merchant, community leader, and advocate of equal rights. The new park is four times the size compared to the former park and incorporates educational outdoor panel exhibits.


Learn more about Captain Paul Cuffe.


Supporters of Captain Paul Cuffe Park*

We acknowledge and thank the following donors who have  contributed to this project.

Island Foundation, Inc.


Fidelity Foundation

Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund – A program of the Commonwealth of   Massachusetts, administered through a collaborative arrangement between MassDevelopment and the Mass Cultural Council


The New York Community Trust – Wattles Family Charitable Trust Fund, Recommended by Gurdon B. Wattles

Nye Lubricants

Anonymous, 2 Donors


Susan Sweetser Brenninkmeyer

John H. Deknatel & Carol M. Taylor

The William M. Wood Foundation

Anonymous, 2 Donors


Elaine & Paul Chervinsky, M.D.

Betsy & Rusty Kellogg


Babbitt Steam Specialty Co.

Nancy & Jack Braitmayer

Roger & Jane Cheever

The David P. Wheatland Charitable Trust

Sheldon Friedland, In Memory of Shulamith Friedland

Mary Howland Smoyer & Margaret Baker Howland, In Honor of Rachel Smith Howland

Marguerite & H. F. “Gerry” Lenfest

Ann & Lloyd Macdonald

Holly & Joe McDonough

New Bedford Historical Society

Tina & Paul Schmid

Sloan & Wick Simmons

Susan Rich & Anne Strauss, In Memory of their Mother Annette Lantzius

The Vineyard Family

Deborah Walker


John & Patricia Kalisz

Ann Marie & Fred Macri, In Memory of Armand W. Boulanger, Jr.

Paula Cordeiro & David O’Brien

Margaret-Ann Rice, In Honor of Clif Rice

Cordelia W. & James P. Russell

*As of September 21, 2018


Project Team

Architect: Civitects PC

Landscape Design: Sinton and Michener

Engineer: Farland Corp

Project Manager: Page Building Construction Co.

Building & Grounds Committee Chair: John N. Garfield, Jr.