This November, the Rhode Island Historical Society, in collaboration with the Roots Cultural Center, the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society, the Newport Historical Society, and the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice at Brown University will be kicking off a series of talks that will span 2014 and 2015, the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WWI and the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights of 1965. These talks will highlight the crucial role that people of color have played in the creation and defense of local, national and international democracy.
After performing some of the most heroic service of the twentieth century, the servicemen of color who returned from WWI came back to a nation that still could not appreciate the magnitude of their feat for one reason: their heritage. Now, one hundred years later, nearly a century after being honored by the French government, come and join many others across the country to honor the heroism of our servicemen of color.
The first program, will be taking place on Sunday, November 9, 2014 at 2 p.m. at the Aldrich House at 110 Benevolent St. in Providence, will feature a talk by Keith Stokes entitled “‘Here and ‘Over There’: African American Rhode-Islanders During the World War I Era,” followed by a collections event. You are encouraged to bring photographs and mementos of family members who have served. Following the talk, RIHS staff will be on hand to scan items for a digital archive and offer advice on how best to care for these fragile items that tell such important stories.