Upcoming Events

Resistance and Revolution
Two Dramatic Readings
Thursday, July 5, 6 - 8:30 p.m.
Roger Williams National Memorial Parl
282 N. Main Street, Providence
Please join us as the CFR explores our history of resistance and revolution through communal dramatic readings of two of our nation's most radical documents - the Declaration of Independence and Frederick Douglass' speech, "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?" Costumed interpreters representing our nation's history of resistance, from Native Americans through Black Lives Matter protesters, will participate as we celebrate Frederick Douglass' 200th birthday this year. An opportunity for dialogue and discussion will follow.

This event is free but the CFR suggests a donation of $10 to enable us to continue to open our programs to those unable to contribute.

PLEASE NOTE: If the weather is unpleasant, this event will be held across the street in the Cathedral of St. John, 271 N. Main St.


Stamped From The Beginning
Book Group Launch Party
July 11, 6:30 - 9:30 p.m.
RiffRaff Bookstore
60 Valley St., 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."

Through July, August, and September, our book group will meet biweekly to discuss sections of "Stamped from the Beginning." Our launch event on July 11 will provide the opportunity to buy the book, and to meet and learn more about the Center for Reconciliation's mission.

You may pre-pay for the book when you RSVP ($21.39), or purchase a book at RiffRaff. Please indicate your chosen option in your RSVP. For pre-sales, RSVPs are requested by Friday June 29, in order to facilitate the initial book order. To RSVP, CLICK HERE .

An American Citizen
Thursday, July 26, 6 - 8 p.m.
Cathedral of St. John
271 Main St., Providence
Who is an American, and who can be an American citizen? On July 9, 1868, the United States ratified the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, which guaranteed citizenship to all those born in America - including people who had previously been enslaved. In honor of this event, the Center for Reconciliation is hosting a panel and discussion on the history and contemporary meanings of the concept of American citizenship. To register, CLICK HERE .

CFR Trains New Docents
 and Tour Guides
Nine prospective CFR tour guides and docents have been working hard to get ready to lead the CFR's popular College Hill and International Slave Trade Walking Tour as well as tours of the Cathedral of St. John and its cemetery. Elon Cook Lee, Certified Interpretive Guide Trainer and CFR Program Director and Curator, led the group through 9-10 hours of training, and a walking tour led by Ms. Lee. Each participant received a script for the standard tour, but also created a specialized tour of their own choosing. Following approval of the scripts, Lee will observe each trainee guide a tour before final "graduation."

The College Hill and International Slave Trade Walking Tour offers an exclusive behind- the-scenes look inside several local historic sites, discussing Rhode Island’s complicity and resistance to the international slave trade from a variety of viewpoints. Everyone from the state’s wealthiest early citizens to its most recent antebellum immigrants helped the Ocean State become the country's largest contributor to the slave trade. Tour stops include the John Brown House, John Carter Brown Library, University Hall, Stephen Hopkins House, Cathedral of St. John cemetery, and the Cathedral itself. In addition, tours will be available of the Cathedral and cemetery alone.

As soon as the new guides are fully trained, tours will be scheduled weekly throughout the summer and fall. Our schedule will be available soon. For more information, contact info@cfrri.org, or visit www.cfrri.org/tours .

Past Events
Movie Night:
The Loving Generation
On June 12, "Loving Day," 36 people attended the CFR's second "Movie Night," a screening and discussion of " The Loving Generation . " Produced by Topic Studies, the film is a documentary series about the generation of people born to one white and one black parent in the wake of the Supreme Court's June 12, 1967 Loving v. Virginia decision legalizing interracial marriage.After the screening, CFR Program Assistant Kerrick Edwards gave a short presentation on vocabulary related to multiracialism, such as "passing", "white-passing", "code-switching" and "colorism". During the discussion, several people commented upon the complex and sometimes contentious relationships that the documentary subjects had to “whiteness” and “blackness”, and reflected upon their own easy or uneasy relationships to their racial identities. The film and discussion were a great introduction to the many diverse experiences of race - we hope that people will continue the conversation at home!

CFR Faith Community Liaisons Share Exciting Initiatives
On June 16, eight CFR faith community liaisons gathered in Providence to share their congregations' conversations about race and to learn about programs the CFR is developing that may be helpful to them and to their congregations. 

The primary role of a CFR liaison is to share information back and forth between a congregation and the CFR. However, several liaisons have been inspired to do much more on their own, collaborating with members of their own faith communities or forming inter-faith organizations to host community-wide programs. Examples include:

  • The Barrington Interfaith Partners has hosted a half-dozen programs. The town’s clergy association has asked for help in wrestling with race-based issues.  
  • Westminster Unitarian Church has hosted a movie series, a book discussion group, and a 3-hour program led by Elon Cook Lee that drew 70 people. This group is currently preparing a church-wide proposal supporting Black Lives Matter.  
  • Members of St. Augustine's Episcopal Church in Kingston gathered a diocesan-wide group that developed its own curriculum on racial reconciliation for white people. The curriculum was tested at St Augustine's and is available for use by others.  
  • Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Newport hosted a movie series and promoted a returning college student's presentation about race.  
  • Christ Episcopal Church in Westerly hosted a movie series, a book discussion group, and a community reading of Dr. Martin Luther King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail."
  • St. Luke's Episcopal Church in East Greenwich hosted a Lenten series on race.  

To support these ambitious efforts, the CFR is developing a series of training programs based on the level of responsibility in which a CFR liaison or other interested person is interested. Liaisons are encouraged to continue to take personal initiative to host programs that support racial reconciliation in their communities.j

If you would like to become a CFR Faith Community Liaison, or would like to speak to someone who has already taken on this role, please send an email to Pam McDonald, faith community liaison coordinator, at   pmcdonald772@gmail.com   or call 860-796-4543.

Art of Race
On June 21 the CFR and the Rhode Island School of Design hosted another in the popular series, Art in Race. CFR Director and Curator, Elon Cook and RISD Museum Assistant Curator of Costumes and Textiles, Laurie Brewer, led approximately 20 participants in exploring and discussing the racial history of costumes and textiles in the RISD museum's collection. The next Art of Race will be held Thursday, August 16, and will focus on Ancient Art. To register, CLICK 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
Bearing Witness to Slavery: A Sculpter’s Trans-Atlantic Passage from Ghana to Alabama. Linda Matchen, The Boston Globe , June 3. Ghanaian artist Kwame Akoto-Bamfo’s sculpture depicting slavery greets visitors at the entrance to the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Ala. Akoto-Bamfo’s constellation includes seven shackled figures — three males, three females, and a baby — who are connected to one another, yet still seem alone. Streaks of red and copper rust from their chains flow down their bodies, like blood. To read article and see photos of figures, CLICK HERE .

Why More White Americans Are Opposing Government Welfare Programs . Kat Chow, NPR , aired June 9. A new study shows that since 2008, more white people in the United States oppose welfare programs, in part because of increasing "racial resentment." One of the reasons for this opposition, according to the report, is white Americans' perceptions that they might be losing their financial and social status while people of color make gains in those areas. To read transcript, CLICK HERE .

In 'Black Memorabilia,' Boston Filmmaker Shows How Some Profit From Racist Objects. Reviewed by Maria Garcia, NPR , aired June 20. Chico Colvard's documentary is a thought-provoking meditation on how society still thirsts for these racist objects — and how those who trade in them profit while others feel the weight of their harm. To listen, CLICK HERE .

Teaching Kids that Connecticut History Goes Beyond White Guys.   TEMA KAISER SILK, NPR , aired June 20. In Connecticut, third- and fourth-graders study the history of their state. In many schools, students choose to research one person or event from an approved list. The people on that list have been mostly men, and all white.
But because of an unusual collaboration, it now includes Native American, Latino, and African-American men and women. To listen, CLICK HERE .

The Nation's Historical Amnesia. Renee Graham, The Boston Globe , June 21. Anyone who believes the malicious separation  of immigrant children from their parents  is contrary to American values doesn’t understand what — and whom — America has always valued. It should now be abundantly clear that, in a nation that values whiteness above all else, it’s not those thousands of brown children being kept in cages. To read, CLICK HERE .

Please note: All CFR newsletters are available on our website. To read, CLICK HERE .
Please support our work by making a donation to the Center for Reconciliation. Donate online HERE