Breaking Chains

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As the nation observes 400 years of slavery in America, Stages of Freedom takes the opportunity to examine, discuss and commemorate Rhode Island’s long and complicated role in the slave trade, and its gradual abolition, in a four-part series. The events include:


“Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom” with Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David W. Blight. Wednesday, June 12th at 5pm, Redwood Library, Newport. Dr. Blight will discuss his powerful new book on Douglass, who's first stop, when he escaped slavery, was Newport. 


“Disowning Slavery: Gradual Emancipation & Race in Rhode Island” with Rhode Island’s leading scholar on Rhode Island slavery, Dr. Joanne Pope Melish and URI author Dr. Marcus Nevius. Thursday, June 13th at 5pm, Linden Place, Bristol, RI. Bristol was Rhode Island’s largest slave port and James DeWolf, owner of Linden Place, the nation's most prolific slave trader. 


“A Concert for Freedom” with the Schiller Institute New York City Chorus. Friday, June 14th at 5pm, Manning Chapel, Brown University, Providence, RI. The interracial Schiller Institute Chorus is committed to performing African-American spirituals in keeping with the tradition of Hall Johnson, H.T. Burleigh and other Black composers.


“A Living History Tour of Slavery and Abolition in Providence.” Saturday, June 15th, at 10am. Tour originates at Stages of Freedom, 10 Westminster Street, Providence. This groundbreaking 7-site tour, with re-enactors and interactive participation explores escape to freedom, manumission, everyday life, religion, burial rites and more. The tour is conducted by Ray Rickman, Stages of Freedom executive director and the leading authority on Black life in Providence.