New Exhibit Shares Untold Stories of Black Newporters

May 31, 2024

By: Leah Crowley, WPRI 12. To view this story online, click here.

NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) — During the four-year process of digitizing its records, the Newport Historical Society was able to identify 1,700 people of African descent who lived in the city between 1600 and 1865.

According to the society, many of these Black Newporters had been forcibly taken from their homes and brought to Rhode Island to work as unpaid laborers as part of the Atlantic Slave Trade.

The society’s new exhibition, “A Name, A Voice, A Life: The Black Newporters of the 17th–19th Centuries,” will prominently feature a visualization with all 1,700 of those people’s names.The exhibit will also feature work from local artists exploring the individuals whose stories have been recovered from the archives.

There will be an opening night reception for the exhibit at 6 p.m. on May 29. The public is welcome to attend the opening, but registration is required. You can register here.

Starting on May 30, the exhibit will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Richard I. Burnham Resource Center on Touro Street. Admission to the exhibit is free.

To view this story online, click here.