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Religeous Freedom Personalities

Ann Hutchinson - Portsmouth

Early American religious pioneer Anne Hutchinson was born in 1591 in Alford, England and arrived with her husband and family to the New World in 1634. Expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1638 for her insistence on practicing religion as she chose, she would be part of the first European settlers in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Articulate and learned in the Bible and theology, insisted that true belief in God came from inner experience of the Holy Spirit. She would preach the very essence of freedom of religious expression.

Reverend Isaac Touro - Newport

Reverend Isaac Touro arrived in Newport in 1759 and would become the first spiritual leader of Congregation Yesuat Israel in Colonial Newport. By 1763 he would oversee the completion of what is today the oldest Synagogue in North America. As a spiritual leader of the Jewish Community in Newport, Touro also interacted with Christian clergy of his time and raised three children. One, Judah Touro would become one of America’s most celebrated philanthropists giving thousands of dollars to Jewish and Christian education and religious organizations across America. For more information visit

Reverend Samuel Hopkins - Newport

The Reverend Samuel Hopkins, graduated from Yale in 1741, and became minister at the First Congregationalist in Newport in 1773, then a center of New England's slave trade. Recognized with being one of America’s early abolitionists against slavery, in 1776, Reverend Hopkins wrote and published the anti-slavery pamphlet, A Dialogue Concerning the Slavery of the Africans, which was addressed directly Continental Congress. In 1784 he led the members of his church to vote to exclude all slaveholders from the congregation.