Paul Cuffe was born free in 1759 in Massachusetts. His father Kofi (Cuffe), from the Ashanti tribe in Africa was stolen and brought to America as a slave during his early childhood.
Kofi earned his freedom by his skillfulness as a carpenter and educated himself as well.
Paul learned maritime navigation after his fathers death and at the beginning of the American Revolution, he and his brother built a boat and began a trading business. This business grew to a fleet of ships and a ship yard, making Paul Cuffe one of the wealthiest men in America. He died September 17, 1817.