Historical Society Wins AASLH Leadership in History Award of Merit

Leadership in History LogoNASHVILLE, TN—July 2017—The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) proudly announces that the Little Compton Historical Society is the recipient of an Award of Merit for its recent project entitled “If Jane Should Want to Be Sold: Stories of Enslavement, Indenture and Freedom in Little Compton, Rhode Island.” The AASLH Leadership in History Awards, now in its 72nd year, is the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history.

“If Jane Should Want to be Sold” is a multi-faceted local history project that restored the true stories of over 200 enslaved people of African and Native American descent to the history of Little Compton. It also explored the lives of fifty people of all races, mostly children, forcibly indentured by the town of Little Compton in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as well as the stories of free people of color who lived and worked in the community from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries. The project corresponded with the 200th anniversary of the end of slavery in Little Compton when the town’s last enslaved person, Kate Hilliard, received her freedom in her owner’s will in 1816. The Historical Society conducted three years of primary source research in archives throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts in order to produce a book and a special exhibition, both entitled “If Jane Should Want to be Sold.” The project also included a variety of public programs connecting the local history of slavery with contemporary issues of racism and human trafficking. The exhibition is now on display at the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities at Brown University and is free and open to the public. The book is available at the Little Compton Historical Society and local retailers, the Brown University Library, and amazon.com. In the fall, the historic data collected throughout the project will be available to the public via a database produced in partnership with the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and George Mason University.

This year, AASLH is proud to confer forty-eight national awards honoring people, projects, exhibits, and publications. The winners represent the best in the field and provide leadership for the future of state and local history. Presentation of the awards will be made at a special banquet during the 2017 AASLH Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas, on Friday, September 8. The banquet is supported by a generous contribution from the History Channel.

The AASLH awards program was initiated in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history throughout the United States. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards not only honor significant achievement in the field of state and local history, but also bring public recognition of the opportunities for small and large organizations, institutions, and programs to make contributions in this arena. For more information about the Leadership in History Awards, contact AASLH at 615-320-3203, or go to http://www.aaslh.org.

The American Association for State and Local History is a not-for-profit professional organization of individuals and institutions working to preserve and promote history. From its headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, AASLH provides leadership, service, and support for its members who preserve and interpret state and local history in order to make the past more meaningful in American society. AASLH publishes books, technical publications, a quarterly magazine, a monthly newsletter, and maintains numerous affinity groups and committees serving a broad range of constituents across the historical community. The association also sponsors regional and national training workshops and an annual meeting.

2017 Special Exhibition Little Compton’s 20th-Century Artists

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Exhibit Preview Party          Friday, June 30           6-8 pm

Family Day Celebration       Saturday, July 1         1-4 pm

We Need Your Help!

Almost 30 volunteers have been working for months researching the lives and work of Little Compton’s 20th-century artists. Thanks to your suggestions, we’ve complied a list of over 30 professional artists and talented Sunday Painters  to be included in this season’s special exhibition. Though we can only display a few pieces from each artist, we are creating an archive for each participant and would like to have digital images of as many pieces of their work as possible. If you own a piece by one of these artists, please send a photograph of it to lchistory@littlecompton.org and please indicate whether or not it is available for loan this season.

The Exhibit Committee is making decisions on which pieces will hang in the exhibit throughout April.

We are especially in need of artwork by C. Gordon Harris, Lloyd Goodrich, Edwin Blashfield, Eric Denard, Gus Kelley, Hazard Durfee and Tom Sullivan, but photos of artwork from any of the artists will help improve our archival collection.

Artists must have a strong connection to Little Compton, must have done a significant body of work in the 20th century, and must be deceased.

The painting above is by David Aldrich and is in a private collection.

List of Artists

David Aldrich

Doris Beattie

Edwin Blashfield

Jane Carrott Boardman

Deborah Bodington

Sydney Burleigh

Bryson Burroughs

Eleanor “Nunnie” Atwater Byers

Eric Denard

Hazard Durfee

Bill Ferguson –

Jennie Furbish

Lloyd Goodrich

C. Gordon Harris

Hope Hudner

Blackmer Humphrey

Ann Jewell

Augusta Kelley

Gus Kelley

Richard Kinnicutt

Molly Luce

Fred Dana Marsh

Reginald Marsh

Virginia Moore

Audrey Buller Parsons

Lloyd Parsons

Mary E. Post

Katherine Schmidt Shubert

Elsie Straight

Tom Sullivan

Brooks Wall

Lois Wilcox

Susan Wise Walker

Betts Burroughs Woodhouse

Unfreedom in Westport, MA

PLEASE NOTE:  This talk will be held at the Little Compton Community Center.

Tony Connors, PhD, the President of the Westport Historical Society will deliver the final talk in the Little Compton Historical Society’s Slavery and Freedom Speakers’ Series on Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 7 pm at the Little Compton Community Center on the Commons. Dr. Connors will present “tony-connorsWestport’s Stories of Unfreedom” based on his extensive research using Westport’s primary source documents. Because of changing borders and family connections, the ties between Westport’s and Little Compton’s historic people of color are especially strong.

Anthony J. “Tony” Connors is an independent historian from Westport, Massachusetts. He has a PhD in American History from Clark University, and is the author of Ingenious Machinists: Two Inventive Lives from the American Industrial Revolution (SUNY Press, 2014), and “Andrew Craigie: Patriot and Scoundrel,” Harvard Magazine (November-December 2011), and editor of Conflicts in American History: The Colonial and Revolutionary Eras (Facts on File, 2010).

The talk is sponsored by the Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities, an independent state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. It 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 Enslavement, Indenture and Freedom in Little Compton, Rhode Island.” The exhibition is open every Saturday from 1 to 5 PM and by appointment at other times. It will close in Little Compton February 28 and then travel to the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities at Brown University. Admission to the exhibition is free to members of the Little Compton Historical Society and $5 for non-members. For more information please call 401-635-4035.

 

Two Generations of Freedom: From Kofi to Paul Cuffe

 JOIN US on Wednesday, February 1, 2017 at 7 PM at the Little Compton Community Center, when Jeffrey Fortiprofessor-jeffrey-fortinn will present “Two Generations of Freedom: From Kofi to Paul Cuffe.” Professor Fortin will share the stories of Kofi Slocum, an African man enslaved in Westport, MA, who secured his freedom, and his son, Quaker businessman and sea captain, Paul Cuffe. During his lifetime, Paul Cuffe (1759-1817) was one of the most prosperous and politically active men of color in America. 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 shortly.

The talk is free and open to the public.

It is part of the Little Compton Historical Society’s Slavery and Freedom Speakers’ Series and is sponsored by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, an independent state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Later in the month the last talk in the series will take place on Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 7PM, when 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. Through the years changing borders and family connections have created strong ties between Westport’s and Little Compton’s historic people of color.

Race in Dialogue

Join us as our Slavery and Freedom Speakers’ Series continues Wednesday, January 25 at 7 PM at the Little Compton Community Center with Elon Cook, Program Manager and Curator for The Center for Reconciliation. Elon will present, “Race in Dialogue: Where do we go from here?” She will discuss why The Center for Reconciliation in Providence was created by the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island and how individuals, churches and communities across Rhode Island can join statewide dialogues on race and our history of slavery. Sponsored by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities. Free and open to the public.

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