What We Accomplished in 2017
2017 was a banner year for the CFR, as we grew our programs and our reach. We offered:
  • Sixteen public programs on slavery, slave trading or race in New England
  • One performance on the historical connections between Rhode Island textile mills and the lives of enslaved people in the South
  • Two race dialogue trainings
  • Eight lectures or conference panel presentations
  • An Open House that welcomed the community back into the Cathedral
  • The Doors Open RI Festival in September which opened St. John's Cathedral to over 800 visitors. Participants were treated to tours of the building, its cemetery, and opportunities to learn about its storied past, and exciting future as a center for the work of racial reconciliation
  • Opportunities to explore two dynamic temporary exhibits on Rhode Island's history of slavery and slave trading.

Last year our programs reached 1,545 people. That is more than double the number of participants in 2016.

We were also awarded the Sister Ann Keefe Community and Faith Service Award from the RI State Council of Churches at its annual award breakfast. We deeply appreciated being recognized in this way.

Upcoming Events
Martin Luther King, Jr. Program Series
The Center for Reconciliation will host two more programs inspired by Dr. King's writings on the "Beloved Community." Join us as we celebrate his work as expressed through music, and art.
Reconciliation as Expressed in the Arts
Thursday, March 8 at 7 pm
Cathedral of St. John, 271 North Main Street, Providence
An exhibit of representations of reconciliation in the graphic and visual arts with music and dialogue done in partnership with the URI Arts and Culture Program. To register,

Worship Opportunity
Evensong (Evening Prayer Service with music)
February 25 at 4 pm
St. John the Evangelist, 61 Poplar Street, Newport
Commemorating Black History Month and two African American historical figures, Peter Quire, the founder of St. John's, and Absalom Jones who was an abolitionist and Black Episcopal priest in the early 1800's.

Past events in this series included:

Reconciliation as Expressed in Four Faith Traditions, January 11, Grace Church, Providence Presentations and reflections by Rabbi Howard Voss-Altman on Reconciliation in Judaism, Mufti Ikram ul Haq on Reconciliation in Islam, Swami Vogatmananda on Reconciliation in Hinduism and Bishop Jeffery Williams on Reconciliation in Christianity, interspersed with musical selections.

Shabbat (Sabbath Prayer Service), January 12, Temple Beth-El, Providence Traditional Sabbath Prayer Service, with readings from Rabbi Abraham Heschel and Dr. Martin Luther King, and music from the choir of Beneficent Congregational Church.

Reconciliation as Expressed in Music, February 8, St. John's Cathedral, Providence Choral and instrumental performances featuring students from the RI Philharmonic Orchestra Music School, the RPM Voices of RI, the Ruach Singers from Temple Habinom, and the Providence Gay Men's Chorus. This event was the first to be held in the cathedral nave since the cathedral closed in April 2012.

Art of Race Series to Resume
Thursday, February 15, 6-7:30 pm, RISD Chace Center,
20 North Main St., Providence

Join the Center for Reconciliation as the popular ”Art of Race” series resumes for 2018. Each program features works from the RISD Museum's collection with an opportunity to join in a conversation about the many ways art and race intersect. Art experts, historians and CFR staff members share perspectives and ask interesting questions to inspire participants to look more deeply and see more clearly what is being said by these works of art and about the people, places and objects depicted. 

This program will feature works from the Decorative Arts Department. Registration is required and spaces are limited. This series frequently sells out, so register early. CLICK HERE

Upcoming Art in Race programs will be held as follows:
Thursday, March 15 (Decorative Arts Deparment)
Thursday, April 19 (Prints, Drawings, and Photos Department)
Thursday, May 17 (Costumes andTextiles Department)
Interpreting Slavery and Freedom in New England Workshop for Docents
March 26-27, 2018
The Center for Reconciliation will host a two-day conference, "Interpreting Slavery at Historic Sites," on March 26-27 at the Cathedral of St. John, 271 North Main Street, Providence. Morning sessions will offer workshops on interpreting slavery and race for docents and tour guides. Afternoon breakout sessions will cover a variety of related topics. Contact Elon@cfrii.org for more details.
Tour Guide Training Planned
Interested in becoming a Center for Reconciliation tour guide?

In April, the Center for Reconciliation will be hosting an all-day workshop to train new and experienced guides for the CFR's popular International Slave Trade Walking Tours. Participants must have attended the two day Interpreting History at Historic Sites Conference on March 26-27. (See above.) Contact Elon@cfrri.org for more details.
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

Racial Reconciliation Work Around Rhode Island
On January 9, members of the Westerly-Stonington community took turns reading sections from Dr. Martin Luther King's 1963 "Letter from Birmingham Jail." The event, held at the Westerly Library, was sponsored by the Westerly Peace and Justice Group, sponsored by Christ Episcopal Church of Westerly. A 4-panel display of Dr. King's life and mid-20th Century Civil Rights History was on display.

Do you know of other events addressing racial reconciliation sponsored by churches in Rhode Island? Please let us know at info@cfrii.org so we can include them in upcoming newsletters.
Many Thanks
The CFR wishes to express our deepest thanks to Henry Moulton of Cambridge, MA, who recently donated his personal, life-long collection of books about slavery and related topics to the CFR Library. This is a wonderful example of one of the many ways our supporters can give back to support the mission of the CFR. We are deeply appreciative of Mr. Moulton's generous gift.

Wanted: Faith Liaisons
Would you like to become a CFR Faith Liaison for your faith community? As a CFR/faith community liaison, we will ask the following of you:
  • Be the primary conduit of information between the CFR and your faith community. We will contact you with notices of upcoming events and programs, and ask you to let leaders and members of your community know about them, in whatever way is most appropriate for your community.
  • Bring back any concerns or questions from your community about our programs or events.
  • Let us know if you want to book any of our programs for your community, or your community in collaboration with other places of worship, libraries, or other venue appropriate for your town or neighborhood.  
  • Ask us for suggestions if you want to host a local program in your community.

Interested? Contact Pam McDonald, pmcdonald772@gmail.com
Further Resources
Boston. Racism. Image. Reality. In December, the Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team confronted one of Boston’s most vexing issues — racism — in a seven-part series that examines the city’s pervasive and persistent national image as a place unwelcoming to black people. Spotlight attempted to answer an important question: Is this reputation still deserved? To read, CLICK HERE
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? and Other Conversations about Race. By Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D, President Emeritus of Spelman College.
 Walk into any racially mixed high school and you will see Black, White, and Latino youth clustered in their own groups. Is this self-segregation a problem to address or a coping strategy? Beverly Daniel Tatum, a renowned authority on the psychology of racism, argues that straight talk about our racial identities is essential if we are serious about enabling communication across racial and ethnic divides. These topics have only become more urgent as the national conversation about race is increasingly acrimonious. 
The Heartbeat of Racism is Denial . By Ibram Kendi. New York Times Sunday Reviews, January 13, 2018. To read , CLICK HERE
South African Diocese Rolls Out Program to Get People Talking About Racial Divide. CLICK HERE
Please support out work by making a donation to the Center for Reconciliation. Donate online HERE