Black History Month Event

Come join us for RISHM’s upcoming Black History Month event February 25, 2024

By Jacquelyn Smith, February 8, 2024

The Rhode Island Slave History Medallions (RISHM) is inviting the public to celebrate Black History Month at a program honoring Black abolitionist and church founder Peter Quire on Sunday, February 25 at 3PM at the historic St. John the Evangelist Church, 61 Washington Street in Newport. The event is free, open to the public, and a reception follows.

With speakers and gospel music, the event will feature US Congressman Gabe Amo of RI speaking about Black History Month. RISHM Founder and Executive Director will speak about the history of Peter Quire, who worked with the Pennsylvania Quakers on the Underground Railroad freeing enslaved people, and his wife Harriet, both lifelong advocates for equality who were leaders of the Black community in Newport. The St. John’s Choir will perform with special guests Mixed Majic Exult Choir.

RISHM will be installing a medallion at the church’s entrance and it will be among the 14 markers installed across the state that tell the inclusive stories of African and Indigenous Americans during the Colonial Era. In Newport, medallions are marking the landscape at Bowen’s Wharf, Trinity Church, and the W.E. Channing/Quamino House on School Street. Other medallions being installed this year are at the Vernon House, Clarke St., and the Trinity School-Shiloh Baptist Church, School Street. Medallions provide a QR code for scanning with a mobile phone, linking visitors to the slave history archive at www.rishm.org. For more information, contact RISHM director Charles Roberts at info@rishm.org.

Peter Quire and the Church of St John the Evangelist

Click here to discover more about St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church and Peter Quire.

Peter and Harriet Frances Quire, a free Black man and woman, held the first services of St. John’s Parish above their cobbler shop. Before moving to Newport, Peter Quire worked with the Quakers to free enslaved people in the Underground Railroad in Pennsylvania. Upon his death in 1899, he bequeathed $419, his life savings, to founding the church.

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