The Newport Middle Passage Project, a local nonprofit organization whose goal is bringing to light the full rich scope of Aquidneck Island’s history, recently announced that it will host a Summer 2021 Speaker Series.

The six-part series will take place in June, July, August, and September and will explore topics such as African American Poetry, Colonizing Black Female Bodies, Rhode Island Mariners of Color, and more.

The speaker series kicks off on June 16 with a free virtual lecture led by Fred Zilian, adjunct professor of history and politics at Salve Regina University.

According to event organizers, the lecture, “Juneteenth Celebration Virtual Lecture: African American Un-Freedom, 1877 – 1960’s”, will address the period from the end of Reconstruction to the end of the 1960s, a period of “un-freedom” and inequality for African Americans.

Juneteenth is a day of celebration observed for African American culture and progress. It is also noted as Emancipation and is called Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, or Liberation Day.

The lecture will cover the concept of segregation, the Jim Crow laws, important Supreme Court rulings, violence against African Americans, important black leaders of the era, black contributions in World War II, and the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Q&A to follow and Dr. Zilian will be happy to address the current challenges facing Americans regarding race relations.

For more information or to register for the June 16 event, click here.

For more information and updates on upcoming events in the series, keep an eye on

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp.  Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in...