Slavery and Freedom Speakers’ Series Continues November 2 with Keith Stokes

keith_hdKeith Stokes will share his expertise on the history of enslaved and free African Americans in Newport, Rhode Island on Wednesday, November 2 at the United Congregational Church on the Little Compton, Commons at 7 PM. His talk is entitled “American Irony: Religious Freedom and Slavery in Colonial Newport” is the next offering in the Historical Society’s Slavery and Freedom Speaker’s Series sponsored by the Rhode Island Historical Society.

“American Irony: Religious Freedom and Slavery in Colonial Newport” presents the simultaneous rise of religious freedom and African enslavement in Colonial Rhode Island. The presentation explores the religious, civic and commerce evolution of Newport through the eyes and experiences of enslaved and, later free, African men, women and children, including the founding of several of the earliest free African education, social and religious institutions in America.

Mr. Stokes is the co-founder of the 1696 Heritage Group, an organization dedicated to the study and sharing of African-American history in Newport. The talk is free and open to the public.

The Little Compton Historical Society’s Slavery and Freedom Speaker Series is part of a year-long project honoring the 200th anniversary of the end of slavery in Little Compton. The Society has spent three years investigating the history of slavery in Little Compton and now offers a book and a special exhibition on the subject entitled “If Jane Should Want to Be Sold, Stories of Slavery, Indenture and Freedom in Little Compton, Rhode Island.” The exhibition is open every Saturday from 1 to 5 PM through February. Admission is free to members of the Little Compton Historical Society and $5 for non-members.

Other talks in the Slavery and Freedom Speakers series include:

On January 25, 2017 at 7PM, at the Little Compton Community Center, Elon Cook, Program Manager & Curator of the new Center for Reconciliation for the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island will speak on the exciting work of the Center for Reconciliation and how institutions and individuals can collaborate to increase public knowledge about slavery and Rhode Island’s role in the international slave trade.

On Wednesday, February 1, 2017 at 7 PM at the Community Center, Jeffrey Fortin will present “Two Generations of Freedom: From Kofi to Paul Cuffe.”  Dr. Fortin is the Paul Cuffe Fellow at Mystic Seaport Museum and Assistant Professor of History at Emmanuel College. His book on the life of Paul Cuffe will be published soon.

Last in the series on Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 7PM at the Community Center, Tony Connors, President of the Westport Historical Society, will present “Westport’s Stories of Unfreedom” based on his extensive research using Westport’s primary source documents.

 

 

 

 

Kevin Ryan to Speak on Present Day Human Trafficking – October 21 – 1 PM

Keimg_3986vin Ryan, President and CEO of Covenant House International is the next speaker in the Little Compton Historical Society’s series exploring slavery and freedom. The series is made possible by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and will run through February, 2017. Each event is free and open to the public.

Covenant House is the largest charity across the hemisphere serving homeless and trafficked youth. Each year, the charity reaches more than 50,000 children and youth across 30 cities in six countries. Mr. Ryan will speak Friday, October 21 at 1 pm at the Little Compton Community Center. He will discuss the harsh realities and devastating consequences of human trafficking in the United States and across the word today, especially as it pertains to the homeless children, teens and young adults who seek help from Covenant House. Legal slavery ended in Little Compton two hundred years ago, and in the United States in 1865, but the reality of illegal slavery continued and still continues today.

Kevin Ryan is a best selling author, father, husband and child advocate. He arrived at Covenant House in 1992 to provide legal assistance to homeless youth and he now leads Covenant House International, whose work has been awarded the Conrad Hilton Humanitarian Award and the Olaf Palme Peace Prize.

Over the past five years, Kevin Ryan and his Covenant House team have built an international Sleep Out movement, involving thousands of participants across two countries who sleep outside for one night and raise funds  to house, train and help homeless youth who are most at risk for human trafficking.

Mr. Ryan previously served as New Jersey’s first public Child Advocate and first commissioner of the Department of Children and Families. His first book, “Almost Home,” a collaboration with former New York Times reporter Tina Kelley, became a national best seller in the Fall of 2012. The book chronicles the lives of six homeless teenagers as they faced abuse, violence and heartbreak in search of a place to call home. “Almost Home” will be available for sale before and after his talk in Little Compton.

In 2015, President Barack Obama appointed Mr. Ryan as a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Kevin Ryan is a graduate of Catholic University, Georgetown Law Center and NYU Law School. His numerous media appearances include the TODAY Show, Good Morning America and two appearances on 60 Minutes. He lives in Fair Haven, NJ with his wife Clare Neitzey Ryan, a Little Compton native. Together with their six children, they make frequent trips to visit their family in Little Compton.

The Little Compton Historical Society’s Slavery and Freedom Speaker Series is part of a year-long project honoring the 200th anniversary of the end of slavery in Little Compton. The Society has spent three years investigating the history of slavery in Little Compton and now offers a book and a special exhibition on the subject entitled “If Jane Should Want to Be Sold, Stories of Slavery, Indenture and Freedom in Little Compton, Rhode Island.”

The books’ author, Historical Society Managing Director, Marjory O’Toole became deeply engrossed in returning the stories of over 250 unfree people to the history of Little Compton, but she says the project took on special meaning in light of the thousands of people in the United States and across the globe who are still, for all intents and purposes, enslaved. She hopes her historical work will encourage the public to make connections between the past and the present, and take action against human trafficking today.

Other talks in the Slavery and Freedom Speakers series include:

On Wednesday, November 2 at the United Congregational Church on the Little Compton, Commons at 7 PM, Keith Stokes will present “American Irony—Slavery & Religious Freedom in Colonial Newport.” Mr. Stokes is the co-founder of the 1696 Heritage Group.

On January 25, 2017 at 7PM, at the Little Compton Community Center, Elon Cook, Program Manager & Curator of the new Center for Reconciliation for the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island will speak on the exciting work of the Center for Reconciliation and how institutions and individuals can collaborate to increase public knowledge about slavery and Rhode Island’s role in the international slave trade.

On Wednesday, February 1, 2017 at 7 PM at the Community Center, Jeffrey Fortin will present “Two Generations of Freedom: From Kofi to Paul Cuffe.”  Dr. Fortin is the Paul Cuffe Fellow at Mystic Seaport Museum and Assistant Professor of History at Emmanuel College. His book on the life of Paul Cuffe will be published soon.

Last in the series on Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 7PM at the Community Center, Tony Connors, President of the Westport Historical Society, will present “Westport’s Stories of Unfreedom” based on his extensive research using Westport’s primary source documents.

Visit the NMAAHC with Us in January

Join the Little Compton Historical Society as we explore the new

Sdownloadmithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture

Washington, DC  —  January 8-10, 2017

Our newest board member, Professor Steven Lubar of Brown University, a former Smithsonian curator, has arranged special tours for us which are not available to the general public. Enjoy custom tours of the:

¨ National Museum of African American History & Culture

¨ National Museum of the American Indian

¨ National Museum of American History

Join Steve and LCHS Director Marjory O’Toole on this trip designed especially for museum lovers. All tours are optional, and you may explore the Smithsonian’s other museums or the city’s attractions on your own instead if you choose. You may also explore DC’s fabulous options for meals on your own or join Steve or Marjory at restaurants they have pre-selected.

Cost Includes:

¨  Roundtrip airfare from Providence.

¨ Guided motorcoach transportation from Ronald Regan Airport to Mount Vernon to hotel on Day 1 and back to airport on Day 3.

¨ Two nights stay Hilton Garden Inn, Washington DC, Downtown. 1 minute walk to Metro and 20 minutes to National Mall.

¨ Two hot breakfasts.

¨ Day 1—Tour of Mount Vernon with lunch in its tavern-style restaurant.

¨ Day 1 & 3—Guided motorcoach transportation to a number of national monuments including the Martin Luther King Memorial.

¨ Day 2 & 3—Customized tours of three Smithsonian museums.

¨ Day 3—Tour of the Library of Congress.

 

Options:

¨ Transportation to and from the LC Historical Society and the airport. Cars may be left at LCHS.

¨ Travel Insurance.

 

Cost:  $865 Double Occupancy

¨ $200 Deposit Due by October 10

¨ Refundable only if LCHS cancels trip due to lack of interest

¨ Non-refundable if trip proceeds

Historian Linford Fisher to Speak

Version 4

Slavery and Freedom Series

September 27, at 7 PM 

United Congregational Church 

Professor Linford Fisher

“New England Slavery in an Atlantic World”

Free and Open to the Public – Sponsored by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities

As part of a year-long project honoring the 200th anniversary of the end of slavery in Little Compton, the Little Compton Historical Society is hosting a speakers’ series featuring authors and historians with expertise on slavery and freedom in New England. The series is made possible by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and will run through February, 2017. Each event is free and open to the public.

The Historical Society is pleased to welcome Linford Fisher as its next speaker on Tuesday, September 27, at 7 PM at the United Congregational Church on the Commons.  Dr. Fisher, Associate Professor of History at Brown University, writes and teaches on religion, Native Americans, and slavery in colonial America. During his talk he will help place slavery in Little Compton and the surrounding areas into the context of the wider Atlantic World.

Dr. Fisher is the author of The Indian Great Awakening: Religion and the Shaping of Native Cultures in Early America (Oxford, 2012) and the co-author of Decoding Roger Williams: The Lost Essay of Rhode Island’s Founding Father (Baylor, 2014), with J. Stanley Lemons and Lucas Mason-Brown. These books will be available for purchase before and after his talk and are now available for borrowing at the Brownell Library in Little Compton. Dr. Fisher is currently working on a book-length project on Indian and African enslavement in colonial New England and several select English Atlantic islands, including Bermuda, Barbados, and Jamaica. His course at Brown University entitled “Enslaved, Slavery in the Atlantic World” inspired the Historical Society’s Director, Marjory O’Toole, to begin her research on local slavery, indenture and freedom and prompted the Historical Society to explore the topic throughout the year with a book, a special exhibition, school programs and this speakers’ series.

The next two talks in the series are:

On Friday, October 21 at 1 PM, at the Little Compton Historical Society, Kevin Ryan, President and CEO of Covenant House International will speak on the persistence of slavery today in the United States and across the globe in the form of human trafficking especially as it pertains to the young people seeking help from Covenant House shelters in the United States and abroad.

On Wednesday, November 2 at the United Congregational Church on the Little Compton, Commons at 7 PM, Keith Stokes will present “American Irony—Slavery & Religious Freedom in Colonial Newport.” Mr. Stokes is the co-founder of the 1696 Heritage Group.

 

 

LCHS Annual Meeting

Stories of Enslavement, Indenture and Freedom in Little Compton

Speaker:  Marjory Gomez O’Toole

  • Wednesday, August 10, 2016
  • United Congregational ChurchMarjory O'Toole 2016 by Chris O'Toole
  • 7:00 PM      Business Meeting
  • 7:15 PM       Speaker  
  • 8:00 PM     Refreshments, Book Sales, Author Signing
  • Please Note: The memorial dedication originally planned for 6:30 PM in the cemetery has been postponed because of a delay with the monument.  

Marjory O’Toole, Little Compton Historical Society Managing Director, will share the personal stories of some of Little Compton’s 250 enslaved and forcibly indentured people during her talk at the organization’s Annual Meeting.  The event is free and open to the public and will be held on Wednesday, August 10 at 7 PM at the United Congregational Church on the Little Compton Commons. Members of the Historical Society are especially encouraged to attend to vote on the organization’s board members and officers. A brief business meeting will take place from 7 to 7:15, followed by Ms. O’Toole’s talk. The evening will conclude with refreshments and a book-signing.

Ms. O’Toole has been the Managing Director of the Historical Society for over a decade. She is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Humanities at Brown University. For the last three years she has been conducting primary source research that sheds light on the lives of Little Compton’s enslaved and forcibly indentured men, women and children who lived and worked in the community from 1674 to 1816.

This summer, and specifically August 5, 2016, marks the 200th anniversary of the end of slavery in Little Compton. Kate Hilliard, the last person known to be enslaved in Little Compton, gained her freedom on August 5, 1816 when her owner, David Hilliard’s will, was approved in the local probate court. David granted Kate her freedom in his will and directed his grandson to care for her in her old age. Kate was enslaved by the Hilliard family throughout her life and worked in their tavern and the poor house that they ran. She married an enslaved man named Prince Grinnell and together they had at least two children.

The Historical Society is celebrating the end of slavery in Little Compton by honoring the lives of enslaved people like Kate Hilliard. Their stories were lost from our local history for over two hundred years and have only recently been rediscovered through the Historical Society and Ms. O’Toole’s efforts. This July the Society published Ms. O’Toole’s book entitled “If Jane Should Want to Be Sold, Stories of Enslavement Indenture and Freedom in Little Compton, Rhode Island” and opened a special exhibit by the same title. The book is now available at the Historical Society’s museum shop and Wilbur’s General Store, Earle’s Gas Station, Gray’s Daily Grind and Partner’s Village Store as well as amazon.com. It is also available for loan at the Brownell Library and other libraries throughout the state.

Reservations are not required for the annual meeting.  Directions and more information is available by calling 401-635-4035.

 

Ray Rickman to Speak on Racism and its Roots in Slavery

Picture of Ray

The Little Compton Historical Society and The Brownell Library are pleased to welcome Ray Rickman to Little Compton to speak on “Racism and its Roots in Slavery” at 6 PM, Wednesday, August 3, 2016. The event is free and open to the public and will take place in the tent behind the Brownell Library. Refreshments will be served thanks to a generous “Friend of the Brownell Library.”

Ray Rickman is a long-time advocate for equality and justice in Rhode Island and is considered a leader in the promotion of African American history and culture. He resided in Little Compton every September for eleven years from 2000 to 2011.

Mr.  Rickman has been a prominent figure in Rhode Island politics and culture since he came to this state over three decades ago.   He is a former State Representative from College Hill in Providence and served as Deputy Secretary of State from 2000 to 2002. Mr. Rickman is also a rare book dealer and conducts general and African American cultural tours of the College Hill neighborhood. He is a former president of the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society and was secretary of the Rhode Island Historical Society for seven years. He was also the first treasurer of the Heritage Harbor Museum and is a member of the Rhode Island 1663 Colonial Charter Commission. He and the late Posey Wiggins co-taught a class using the 1883 William J. Brown autobiography as a tool to teach about racial and cultural issues in 19th-century Rhode Island.  In the 1970s, Rickman served as Chief of Staff for United States Congressman John Conyers, Jr. During his tenure working for the Congressman, Ray worked next to Rosa Parks.

Ray currently serves as the president of the Rickman Group, a consulting firm that helps nonprofit organizations and other small businesses with development and fundraising and as the executive director of Stages of Freedom, a non-profit organization that produces and promotes Black cultural events to raise funds for their programs that engage and empower youth of color in Rhode Island.

Among Stages of Freedoms’ programming is Swim Empowerment, which raises funds to provide swimming lessons to youth of color and to increase the state’s awareness of the history of exclusion of African Americans from public pools and the resulting disparity in drowning related injuries and death that disproportionately afflict communities of color.

This talk is a collaboration between the Brownell Library and the Little Compton Historical Society and is part of a year-long project honoring the 200th anniversary of the end of slavery in Little Compton. The Historical Society will be hosting other speakers is a series featuring authors and historians with expertise on slavery and freedom in New England. The series is made possible by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and will run through February 2017. Each event is free and open to the public.