Charles Roberts

Documenting and Honoring the Legacies of the Enslaved

Charles Roberts is the Founder and Executive Director of Rhode Island Slave History Medallions, Newport, RI, a nonprofit, placed-based statewide education program recognized by the RI General Assembly in House Resolution (2020-H 7643). He designed and produced the signature bronze Soul Effigy medallion, equipped with QR code technology that allows visitors to access digital historical information on location.

Roberts is a native Rhode Islander whose family has lived in Newport since 1889. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, attended Black Studies classes at City College University of New York, and studied at the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences at CBS, New York City. 

A talented visual artist, he pursued graphic design at the RI School of Design and continued developing his pastel paintings, winning a juried show award at the Spring Bull Gallery, Newport, 2014. His work was chosen for exhibition in the 2018 and 2019 Annual Juried Members Show at the Newport Art Museum. He has also exhibited in group shows at the New Jersey State House, Trenton; Newport Art Museum’s Coleman Center; DeBlois Gallery, Middletown; and the Hope Street Gallery in Bristol.

His background also includes teaching art and TV production at the Chad Science Academy in Newark, NJ (1994-5), extensive travels throughout Europe and Africa, and concert production/promotion with Warner Atlantic Elektra Records in NY (1979-93) working with artists like James Brown, Chaka Kahn, Gladys Knight, Run DMC, Johnny Pacheco and others. He produced gospel concerts at RI’s Veteran’s Memorial Hall (2002) and Providence Performing Arts Center (2006), while managing and producing the popular First Night Newport, a city-wide New Year’s Eve Celebration of the Arts. (2000-2009). 

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