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 The QR code on the Medallion will provide a link to this website with historical content about each location.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.
The Bristol County Fifes and Drums performed in front of the Colony House as part of the Rhode Island Slave History Medallions Project on Wednesday.
ASSOCIATED PRESS June 2019: Ruth Taylor, executive director of the Newport Historical Society and sponsor for the program’s lecture on June 19th said of RISHM: “The 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.
JUNETEENTH 2019, 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. free event.
5 pm – Fifes and Drums
5:30 pm – Joanne Pope Melish on Remembering Slavery with R.I.S.H.M
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.
Wed. March 20, 6:30 PM, Parish Hall, Channing Church, Newport
In this talk, the first outreach presentation for Rhode Island Slave History Medallions, Dr. Zilian, a board member, will describe the beginnings and growth of slavery in the colony of Rhode Island, and Rhode Island’s key role in the Atlantic trading system. He’ll examine the business, demographics and personal lives of people involved in slavery in colonial Newport, and will demonstrate the relevance of Newport’s slave history to present day concerns.
Dr. Zilian holds a PhD in international relations/strategic studies from Johns Hopkins University. He is an Adjunct Professor at Salve Regina University, where he teaches history and politics. His articles and reviews have been published widely, from the Wall Street Journal to the Newport Daily News. He has performed as an Abe Lincoln interpreter for 20 years.
CO SPONSORED BY THE SOCIAL ACTION COMMITTEE AND THE LEARNING CENTER The Learning Center is in need of folks to help set up in advance of programs! Please contact Susan Kieronski at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (401) 662-2906 to volunteer – thanks!
with Tim Cranston Saturday, November 3rd, 2018 Meeting at 11 am • Gardner’s Wharf
Explore the stories of Wickford’s vibrant community of slaves, servants, mariners, farmers and fisherman living in the early seventeen and eighteen hundreds along side its early Native American population. Who were they? How did they live their lives? What became of them? We will examine these issues and more. Our journey begins at 11 AM, after participants gather at the Town Dock parking lot at the far end of Main Street. We will walk up Pleasant Street past the home of Captain Lodowick Updike, owner of the first Narragansett Plantation stretching from Wickford south to Point Judith and west to Connecticut. The tour will end with a lively discussion at the Old Narragansett Church nestled in the heart of this historic community. For all those who wish to attend, the discussion will continue at lunch at Wickford on the Water on Main Street