Remembering Slavery: June 19, 5 pm


The Newport Historical Society in collaboration with the Rhode Island Slave History Medallions Project  will present an evening of activities June 19, 2019 beginning at 5 pm at The Colony House, Washington Square, Newport, R.I. Please register here for this free event.

  • 5 pm – Fifes and Drums
  • 5:30 pm – Joanne Pope Melish on Remembering Slavery with R.I.S.H.M
  • Charles Roberts – Pompe Stevens Medallion

Joanne Pope Melish

Joanne Pope Melish will discuss the Rhode Island Slave History Medallions project, whose objective is to identify and mark sites throughout the state that have a historical connection to the enslavement of Native Americans and Africans, either by their involvement in the slave trade and the economy of slavery, or by their association with the lives and labor of enslaved people themselves. Dr. Melish will offer some examples of such connections in various parts of the state.
Joanne Pope Melish is Associate Professor of History Emerita at the University of Kentucky, where she also directed the American Studies Program and co-directed the Africana Studies Initiative for several years. Dr. Melish received her BA, MA, and Ph.D. in American Civilization from Brown University. She is the author of Disowning Slavery: Gradual Emancipation and Race in New England, 1780-1860 (Cornell University Press, 1998) and many essays on race and slavery in early New England and slavery in public history.

Charles Roberts

Charles Roberts, Chairman of the Rhode Island Slave History Medallions project, will unveil the medallion whose design was inspired by Pompe Stevens, the enslaved stone carver who in 1768 crafted one of the first signed African-American pieces of artwork in North America right here in Newport
Charles Roberts is an artist, and a Producer/Promoter, who has coordinated concert events for Run DMC Luther Vandross, Chaka Kahn, Gladys Knight
and others. He produced Gospel Gathering Events in Newport, Donnie McClurkin at PPAC and Fred Hammond at Veterans Memorial Hall. He was the Executive Director and producer of First Night Newport’s New Year’s Eve Celebration of the Arts for ten years. His family has lived in Newport since 1889.

The Bristol County Fifes and Drums will perform at 5:00 pm, in front of the Colony House as part of the “International Day of Drumming and Healing” organized by the “400 Years of African American History Commission” established by Congress in recognition of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Africans in the British colonies .

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