Primus Collins was a man with great responsibilities within his community. He mediated disputes, ensured that laws were obeyed, and handed out punishments when necessary. He was similar to any other governor, with one exception—Primus Collins had…

To understand the full history of these bright new houses you must travel back half a century to the summers of the late 1960s and early 1970s. During the Civil Rights era, black residents of New Bedford increasingly voiced their discontent over high…

If anyone deserves a blockbuster biopic on this tour, it is Sissieretta Jones. Jones, a soprano, studied voice at the Providence Academy of Music, the New England Conservatory and the Boston Conservatory and in 1892 became the first African-American…

By the early 1900s, race relations in the United Sates had grown increasingly tumultuous. Despite the abolishment of slavery, post-Civil War America was laden with barriers for people of color. Prominent Black leaders disagreed about how best to…

Fed up! Perhaps they didn't hear you the first time. Every so often, you have to redeliver the message. That’s exactly what happened in 1975, when a Third World Coalition led by Black students occupied University Hall for 38 hours. Black, Latino,…

“I would have been a millionaire today if I had bent to prejudice.” So said George Thomas Downing, prominent African American Rhode Island restaurateur and civil rights champion. From behind the curtains of his lavish Sea Girt Hotel, built on…

“In Memory of Duchess Quamino, A free black of distinguished excellence: Intelligent, Industrious, Affectionate, Honest, and of Exemplary Piety, Who deceased June 4, 1804, aged 65.” Quamino’s weather-worn marker, along with nearly 300…

On November 18, 1949, at 56 Randall Street, in the mostly poor, mostly black, Randall Square neighborhood, local African Americans crowded into the new Celebrity Club bar. It wasn’t quite finished, but the crowd didn’t pay much attention to the…

I remember being much pleased with my nice clothes, and still more so, as I saw so many boys and girls of all sizes at the school, all dressed so nice and clean. … I thought it was one of the most charming sights I had ever beheld. - William J.…

Staring at the endless concrete in the Huntington Expressway Industrial Park, it seems impossible that this was once a vibrant neighborhood. Laughing children ran across neighbors’ yards, caught up in games of hide and seek. The smell of coffee,…

In the summers, Providence residents waded into Mashapaug Pond to get clean – or, more precisely, for spiritual cleansing. "The choir would sing and the Word was preached before the candidate entered the water to have his sins washed away,"…