Upcoming Events
Art of Race:
Ancient Art
Thursday, August 16, 6-7:30 p.m.
RISD Museum, Chace Center Entrance
20 North Main St., Providence
Join Center for Reconciliation Program Director and Curator Elon Cook Lee and RISD Museum Curator of Ancient Art Gina Borromeo for a special opportunity to explore and discuss the racial history of ancient art in the RISD Museum collection. 

SPACE IS LIMITED. Please RSVP below to hold your spot. If you are RSVPing for more than one person please fill out a separate registration for EACH person with their name. If you have any questions please email us at info@cfrri.org.

This program is free, but donations are gratefully accepted. Please note that all donations go toward ensuring that the Center for Reconciliation can continue hosting public programs that are open to ALL regardless of their ability to give.

More Upcoming Art of Race Programs:

  • The Art of Race: Contemporary Art. September 30, 2018, 6-7:30 pm, RISD Museum. To register, CLICK HERE.

  • The Art of Race: Costumes and Textiles. October 18, 2018, 6-7:30 pm, RISD Museum. To register, CLICK HERE.

  • The Art of Race: Decorative Arts. November 15, 2018, 6-7:30 pm, RISD Museum. To register, CLICK HERE.

  • The Art of Race: Prints, Drawings and Photographs. January 17, 2019, 6-7:30 pm RISD Museum. To register, CLICK HERE.

Stamped From The Beginning
Book Group Meeting
Biweekly Tuesdays, 6:30-8 p.m.
Cathedral of St. John
271 North Main Street, Providence
Ibram Kendi's "Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America" is the selection for the inaugural book group of the Center for Reconciliation. Winner of the National Book Award in 2016, "Stamped from the Beginning" is self-described as "a searing history of how racist ideas were created, disseminated, and entrenched in America."

A lively group of almost readers attended the first meeting of the book club at St. John's Cathedral on July 31 to discuss the book's introduction and first section. The group will continue to meet every other Tuesday at the Cathedral of St. John through October 9.

Newcomers are welcome to attend future meetings. To get on the mailing list or to ask questions, contact info@cfrri.org

Upcoming discussions include:

  • Tuesday, August 14: Section 2
  • Tuesday, August 28: Section 3
  • Tuesday, September 11: Section 4
  • Tuesday, September 25: Section 4 & Conclusion
  • Tuesday, October 9: Wrap-up and Activism Discussion

CFR Celebrates International Day of Remembrance of Slavery
with Walking Tour
Thursday, August 23, 3-5 p.m.
Meet at corner of Brown and Power Streets, Providence
by the John Brown House Museum, 52 Power Street

On August 23rd the Center for Reconciliation will participate in UNESCO's  International Day for the Remembrance of Slavery  by leading a walking tour on Rhode Island's connections to slavery and slave trading. August 23rd was chosen by UNESCO for this commemoration because this was the date in 1791 when enslaved and free Africans and Creoles began what we know today as the Haitian Revolution. Now the date honors the lives of victims of human trafficking and survivors of the international and domestic slave trade.

This walking tour examines more than 300 years of history in two hours. We will cover about one mile of the neighborhood of College Hill. Stops include the John Brown House, Stephen Hopkins House, John Carter Brown Library, University Hall and the historic St. John's Cathedral. While educational and engaging, this is, at times, like an urban hike. The sidewalks are uneven, we cross a couple of busy streets and there is the occasional road construction. Please make sure you dress comfortably and bring water. Restrooms and limited seating may be available at some stops.

Spaces are limited. The cost is $20. For more information and to register, CLICK HERE .

Slavery, Emancipation and Race in New England:
CFR Offers Six Week Course
Thursdays, Noon - 1 p.m.
September 13 - October 18
St. John's Cathedral
271 North Main St., Providence
The CFR is pleased to announce a six week course taught by CFR Board Member, Prof. Joanne Pope Melish. This course will examine New England’s complex relationship with slavery and its racial legacies, a crucial part of the region’s, and America’s, story. The rise of maritime commercial New England, and Rhode Island in particular, was fueled by the American trade in enslaved Africans and the use of enslaved indigenous and African laborers in New England to produce cheese, grain, livestock, and other commodities for export to the slave societies of the West Indies. The second, industrial phase of New England’s growth and development was rooted in the success of its textile industry, almost entirely dependent on slave-grown cotton and Southern markets for cotton and woolen textiles to clothe slaves; at the same time, slavery as a moral and political issue inflamed New England politics in both the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The course will explore these historical developments and their racialized legacies, including the 20th-century effects of urban renewal, gentrification, preservation, and the war on drugs.

Sign up by August 15 for the early bird cost of $45. After August 15, the cost will be $65. Limited scholarships are available. To register, CLICK HERE . To inquire about scholarships, email info@cfrri.org.

Joanne Pope Melish received her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in American Civilization from Brown University. She is a retired Associate Professor of History at the University of Kentucky, where she taught undergraduate and graduate courses on African American history, American slavery, and the evolution of racial ideologies in the United States. She also directed the American Studies Program and co-directed the Africana Studies Initiative for several years. She is the author of Disowning Slavery: Gradual Emancipation and “Race” in New England, 1780-1860 and a number of essays on race and slavery in early America and slavery in public history and pedagogy. Currently Joanne has an appointment as a Visiting Scholar in the American Studies Department at Brown University. She has been closely involved with the Center for Reconciliation since its inception.

Past Events
An American Citizen
On Thursday, July 26th, the CFR celebrated the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment with a roundtable discussion on the history of and contemporary discourse on birthright citizenship. We were joined by historians Prof. Michael Vorenberg (Brown University) and Prof. Christian Gonzales (University of Rhode Island) as well as Steven Brown, the Executive Director of the Rhode Island ACLU and Silvana Mercado, a rising senior at Providence College who spoke of her experience immigrating from Colombia to the U.S. as a child. Around twenty-five members from the Providence community participated in an intimate and thoughtful discussion about the category of “citizen,” how it has been mobilized as both a tool of inclusion and of exclusion, and its future under the current U.S. government administration. Thank you to our participants for your provocative questions and insightful comments! 

Resistance and Revolution
Two Dramatic Readings
On July 5th, around one hundred community members gathered at dusk in Roger Williams National Memorial to participate in a dramatic rendition of the Declaration of Independence and Frederick Douglass’s speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” Forty attendees joined costumed interpreters onstage to read sections of Douglass’s speech and to participate in a critical conversation about the meanings of freedom and resistance. Everyone present enjoyed local fifth-grader Christopher Pierre’s performance of all four verses of the National Anthem, as well as a much-appreciated visit from the Atomic Blondes ice cream truck. Thank you to the National Park Service for collaborating with us on this event, and all those who joined us for bringing your energy and enthusiasm! 

The Reverend Dante Tavolaro, Curate at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in East Greenwich, attended our program, and was kind enough to share his reflections. This piece was originally published in the St. Luke’s [East Greenwich] Weekly on July 6, 2018. Following the piece by Rev. Tavolaro, we have included a response from Terrlyn L. Curry Avery, Ph.D., MDiv.

To read Rev. Tavolaro's "Reflections on 'Resistance and Revolution" and Dr. Avery's response, CLICK HERE .

Racial Reconciliation Around
Rhode Island
Upcoming Event: American Irony: Religious Freedom and Slavery in Colonial Newport . Lecture and Exhibit by Keith Stokes, 1696 Heritage Group. Monday, August 27, 6 p.m. Hosted by Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 42 Dearborn St. Newport.
Racial Reconciliation Across
the Episcopal Church
Located in Atlanta, Georgia, the Absalom Jones Episcopal Center For Racial Healing is working both in the Diocese of Atlanta and across the wider church to promote racial healing. To learn more, visit its website HERE .
CFR Racial Justice Events Calendar
The CFR maintains a Racial Justice Events Calendar, showing events around the state that connect with our mission of racial reconciliation. The calendar is updated monthly. To see the calendar, visit our website

Further Resources
Do You Think You're Woke? It's not a compliment. John Vercher, WBUR , August 2. “Woke” is tired. It’s tired because it’s so very tiring. Chances are, though, I don’t mean “woke” the way you think I do. It means something far different for people of color than it does for well-meaning white people who use the term to describe themselves.
To read blog, CLICK HERE .

Another way to atone for past sins at Faneuil Hall . Renee Graham, The Boston Globe , July 21. Former Boston Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey was racist. Edward Devotion, an 18th-century land owner, was also a slave owner. Yawkey’s name has been removed from  a Boston street  near Fenway Park. Devotion’s has been taken off  the Brookline school  once  attended  by President John F. Kennedy. It’s a part of how Massachusetts is slowly coming to grips with its own racist past. Peter Faneuil , who bequeathed to the city in 1742 the grand hall that bears his name, belongs on that dubious list. He amassed much of his fortune trafficking black men, women, and children. Yet visual artist  Steve Locke  doesn’t want Faneuil’s name removed from one of Boston’s most popular tourist attractions. He’d rather educate visitors and provoke discussions about how Faneuil Hall was bankrolled by the blood, sweat, and tears of a stolen people.
To read, CLICK HERE .

Blindspotting. Feature Film released July 20 nationwide . Collin must make it through his final three days of probation for a chance at a new beginning in his Oakland, Calif., neighborhood. His bond with his volatile best friend soon gets tested when Collin sees a police officer shoot a suspect in the back during a chase through the streets. Things soon come to a head when the buddies attend a party at the upscale home of a young and wealthy tech entrepreneur. To watch trailer, CLICK HERE .

T he Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America. By Khalil Gibran Muhammad. Harvard University Press, 2011.
Following the 1890 census, the first to measure the generation of African Americans born after slavery, crime statistics, new migration and immigration trends, and symbolic references to America as the promised land of opportunity were woven into a cautionary tale about the exceptional threat black people posed to modern urban society. Chronicling the emergence of deeply embedded notions of black people as a dangerous race of criminals by explicit contrast to working-class whites and European immigrants,  The Condemnation of Blackness reveals the influence such ideas have had on urban development and social policies.

Please note: All CFR newsletters are available on our website. To read, CLICK HERE .
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