Keith 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.