Washington Square Park and The Friends Meeting House
Schedule of Events coming soon: Sunday, June 18th and Monday, June 19th
A free Juneteenth Holiday Special — Sunday, June 18th & Monday, June 19th from 11am-4 pm each day with family activities in Washington Square Park. Celebrating our nation’s freedom and honoring the enslaved heroes of RI’s 1st Black Regiment, guest speakers and African and Indigenous dancers and drummers, children’s crafts, the Newport Artillery, and Food Court Vendors.
At the Friends Meeting House, spectators will experience a colonial encampment of Continental Soldiers, Militia Regiments, the Ladies of the Greene and more.
For Black History Month, the RI Slave History Medallions presents the award-winning documentary film “Bonnie Blue: James Cotton’s Life in the Blues” on Sunday, February 26, 7PM at the Casino Theatre, 10 Freebody St., Newport.
Cotton, a virtuoso harmonica player, who brought the blues to worldwide prominence has been screened internationally and co-produced by James Montgomery. A live performance follows the film by the James Montgomery Blues Band with special guests Beehive Queen, Christine Ohlman and singer Kara McKee from The Voice.
Historic New England’s Casey Farm
Historic New England’s Casey Farm is located on the ancestral homeland of the Narragansett people. By 1755, soon after this house was built, 19% of people in South County were enslaved. Casey Farm was one of many Rhode Island plantations that used forced labor by people of Indigenous and African descent to care for crops, animals, and domestic duties. Enslaved people allowed the farm to prosper, so centuries later, Historic New England could steward the land. The non-profit cultivates and conserves 300 acres of land with its circa 1750 farmhouse, nineteenth century barns and outbuildings, and miles of stone walls. The RISHM marker is located on the front lawn of the farmhouse.
RISHM Black History Month Program, Live and Virtual
The public is invited to attend an illustrated lecture celebrating Black History Month on Saturday, February 26 at 2:00 pm, entitled “Benevolence and Success in the Era of Slavery: Duchess Quamino and William Ellery Channing”. The program is presented by RI Slave History Medallions (RISHM) live at the Channing Memorial Church, 135 Pelham Street, Newport, and simulcast live online at YouTube: Channing Memorial Church Simulcast
The featured speaker will be Akeia de Barros Gomes, Ph.D., anthropologist and senior curator of Maritime Social Histories at the Mystic Seaport Museum and Visiting Scholar at the Center for Slavery and Justice at Brown University. She will talk about the lives and relationship of two historic figures from Newport’s Colonial era, the formerly enslaved nanny and baker Duchess Quamino and abolitionist William Ellery Channing, the well known orator, transcendentalist and longtime minister of the Unitarian Church.
The program also commemorates the installation of a RI Slave History medallion marker at the historic William Ellery Channing home at 24 School Street on Historic Hill in Newport. The QR code on the marker may be scanned with a phone or digital device that links a viewer to a documented narrative about the site at the publicly accessible slave history archive, www.rishm.org.
Duchess Quamino’s baked goods gained renown and it was said George Washington requested her plum cakes when he was in Newport. She was eventually able to raise enough money to buy her and her family’s freedom from Reverend William Ellery Channing whose views of abolitionism she influenced. Channing’s philosophy and progressive writing helped usher in the period of Enlightenment with American authors such as Ralph Waldo Emerson. It was in Channing’s honor that the Channing Memorial Church and a Touro Park statue in Newport were erected in the 1880’s.
Event registration is free at Eventbrite.com. In person attendance will be limited to those who have pre-registered online. Attendees must wear masks and COVID safe seating will be provided as per RI Health Department protocols. For more information, please contact RISHM director Charles Roberts at email@example.com.
Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Also known as African American History Month, The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African America
in 1926, Negro History week chosen on the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Doughlass. The event inspired schools and communities nationwide to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs and host performances and lectures
President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history
The NAACP was founded on February 12, 1909, the centennial anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln.
Saturday, October 10, 2020 – 10am to 11am
55 Richard Smith Drive, North Kingstown, RI
This dedication featured remarks by RISHM director Charles Roberts, Smith’s Castle Vice-president and Education Committee chairperson Robert A. Geake and members of their education committee. A blessing of the land in the original Narragansett language was given by Loren Spears of the Tomaquag Museum. The Mixed Magic Exult Gospel Choir will perform spiritual tributes. Members of the Rhode Island First Black Regiment will honor the enslaved Patriots with a musket salute. This program was made possible by the Rhode Island Slave History Medallions organization and the Friends of Smith’s Castle and Preserve RI. For more information: Smith’s Castle, North Kingstown
Rhode Island ruled the slave trade. For more than 75 years, merchants and investors bankrolled 1,000 voyages to Africa. Their ships carried some 100,000 men, women, and children into New World slavery.Click here to read the powerful 15 part series.
On July 23rd 2020, a RI Slave History Medallion was placed at the original historic buildings on Bowen’s Wharf formerly known as the Stevens Ship Chandlery (now the Sail Loft) which is registered with the Library of Congress’s Historic American Buildings.
Speakers RI Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee, RI Director of Tourism Mark Brodeur, Discover Newport Executive Director Evan Smith, Bart Dunbar from Bowen’s Wharf, RISHM Executive Director Charles Roberts, and members of the Black Lives Matter Movement.
In Memory of Mayor Paul Gaines – First Black Mayor of Newport, RI & First Black Mayor in New England. Mayor Paul L. Gaines (April 20,1932 – June 25, 2020), Chairman of the Patriots Park Renovation Committee
Contributions to the History of Slavery in Rhode Island
Take a tour of Rhode Island’s historic locations through the Rhode Island Slave History Medallion project.
This is the original gravestone carved in Newport by Pompe Stevens, the enslaved artisan who crafted one of the first signed African-American pieces of artwork in North America in 1768 for his deceased brother Cuffe Gibbs.
The Rhode Island Slave History Medallion organization is a statewide public awareness program committed to marking those historic sites connected to the history of slavery in Rhode Island.
Slavery was the global economic engine prior to its abolition and Rhode Island’s role in this business of slavery was significant. By marking sites throughout the state that are connected to that past, we hope to make that history easily accessible by telling a more complete story of the cultural and economic development of the State of Rhode Island.
In each city or town, a QR coded Medallion with the history of its designated locations will appear on the website. The QR code on the Medallion will provide a link to this website with historical content about each location.
We welcome participation in the Rhode Island Slave History Medallion project. Please help us accomplish this landmark achievement in education.
On November 18th 2019, US Congressman David Cicilline, cut the ribbon and spoke about the importance of the RISHM awareness and education program. RI Rep. Marvin Abney, RISHM Chair Charles Roberts, former Mayor Paul Gaines, RI Sen. Jim Seveney and RI Rep.Teri Cortvriend attended the presentation.