Image of Dr. Van Horne, courtesy of Rhode Island Black Heritage Society Collections

St. George’s School has announced that they have launched the “Beloved Community Initiative,” an educational program comprised of events focused on the history and legacy of race and slavery in the United States and Rhode Island. Before the American Revolution, Newport was the largest and most active slave port in British North America.

“The Beloved Community Initiative is seeking to center our focus on gaining a broader understanding and appreciation of pivotal social justice moments in the school’s history by reflecting on the experiences and stories of members of the broader St. George’s community,” SG Director of Equity and Inclusion Dr. Kim Bullock said in a press release. “Through educational programming, the initiative also seeks to share the impact and history of African heritage and culture in our local community as well as provide context for understanding the connection between these historical events in today’s current events and on St. George’s campus.”

The “Beloved Community” exhibit organized and curated by the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society and 1696 Heritage Group will recount the arrivals of enslaved Africans during the 18th century, and after achieving freedom, would build some of the earliest African, religious, civic and educational institutions in America. By the 19th century Gilded Age, Newport would be host to many of the most important African heritage political, business and artistic leaders. During the early 20th century, Newport African heritage men and women would become a part of America’s “Greatest Generation,” serving in two World Wars.

“This exhibit presents an excellent opportunity to recognize and celebrate the role that African Heritage people played in Newport, Rhode Island, and American history. The exhibit showcases to the public historic artifacts, documents and heirlooms of the people who were a vibrant part of our community,” states Theresa Guzman Stokes, Managing Director of the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society in the press release.

The exhibit is free and open to the public and features historic artifacts, photographs and family heirlooms from the collections of the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society and private family collections. An exhibit highlight will be the recreated living room of one of Rhode Island’s most famous African American religious and civil rights leaders and will run from March 29 to May 1, 2019. The Hunter Gallery is open 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. on Saturday.

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