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Newport Gardner

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Name  Newport Gardner

Died  1826

Crooked shanks by newport gardner 10 18 13

Newport Gardner (born Occramer Marycoo, 1746–1826) was an African American singing school master and composer.


Musical career

Gardner was brought into the colonies as a slave at the age of fourteen where he was sold to Caleb Gardner, a young merchant in Newport, Rhode Island. After showing an ability for making music, Gardner's wife arranged for Newport to study with a singing master, most likely Andrew Law. In 1791 Gardner won a lottery in which he secured enough money to buy freedom for himself and his family. Gardner rented the upstairs of a house in Newport, Rhode Island where he started his own singing school. He was also a composer and started writing music at the age of eighteen possibly becoming published as early as 1803 with the song Crooked Shanks from the collection A Number of Original Airs, Duettos and Trios. He also composed the Promise Anthem. Although the music has been lost, the text is still preserved and is based on passages from the Bible (Jeremiah 30:1-3, 10; Mark 7:27-28).

Church activities

Gardner was also a prominent member in the religious and educational communities. He served as a deacon in the First Congregational Church and as headmaster at a school for black children. Gardner also helped found the Colored Union Church, Newport's first black church, in 1824. The Congregational Church in Boston ordained him as a deacon the following year. Gardner had long desired to return to Africa as a missionary and did so early in 1826, traveling to Liberia, shortly before his death later that year.


Newport Gardner Wikipedia

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