Rhode Island Slave History Medallion Installation Ceremony at Linden Place Mansion
Linden Place Museum will become part of a statewide initiative as it unveils their Rhode Island Slave History Medallion at a free event on June 19th (also known as Juneteenth). The event begins at 12:00 p.m. and will feature prominent local speakers, African dancers, live music, and a land acknowledgement by Sagamore William Guy of the Pokanoket tribe. It is one of several African American history events happening at Linden Place this summer that are sponsored by Bank Newport.
Executive Director of the Rhode Island Slave History Medallion project, Charles Roberts, is producing the event with support from Linden Place, and has been installing medallions at sites around the state that are connected to the Transatlantic slave trade. The project raises public awareness about Rhode Island’s involvement in the business of slavery and acknowledges the enslaved Africans who contributed to our cultural and economic development. “We want to mark these sites so people can know our true history, one that has been hidden from the public for too long,” Roberts said. Slave History Medallions have been previously installed at Smith’s Castle in North Kingstown, Bowen’s Wharf in Newport, and Patriot’s Park in Portsmouth.
Each medallion includes a QR code that can be scanned by a smartphone to reveal information about the slave trade as it relates to each historic site. Both DeWolf Tavern and Linden Place will receive Slave History Medallions that week, with the DeWolf Tavern installation scheduled for June 21st. The two markers will speak to different aspects of Bristol’s involvement with the slave trade in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. “We’re proud to be part of the Rhode Island Slave History Medallion project,” Linden Place Executive Director Susan Battle said, “Both the event and historic marker reflect our ongoing commitment to better understand and share the complicated and troublesome history of slavery in Rhode Island.”
The June 19th event is free, family-friendly, and outdoors, but space is limited. People can register to attend via the EventBrite link at LindenPlace.org/events-calendar.
Prior to the event, Linden Place will be open for free tours from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. where visitors can enjoy light refreshments as they learn about the notorious DeWolf family and their dark history in the slave trade, as well as subsequent residents of the historic Federal-style home.
The timing of these events also offers visitors a chance to drive Bristol’s recently designated “Revolutionary Heritage Byway,” Rhode Island’s first National Scenic Byway which covers a six-mile stretch on Route 114 and High Street.
For additional details about the events visit the websites and social media pages of Rhode Island Slave History Medallion project (RISHM.org) and Linden Place (LindenPlace.org.)