• Replica of Roger Williams' compass

    Roger Williams

    National Memorial Rhode Island

Inspired Providence release

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Date: September 20, 2011
Contact: Jennifer Smith, 401.521.7266

Roger Williams National Memorial and Community Partners present "Inspired Providence" A Fall Lecture Series Celebrating 375 Years of Providence History


PROVIDENCE, RI - Roger Williams National Memorial is pleased to present Inspired Providence-a fall lecture series celebrating Providence's rich cultural heritage from Roger Williams' "lively experiment" in 1636 to the rise of a "Creative Capital." Seven evenings of civic discourse and lively debate will take place between September 29th and November 10th at cultural institutions across the city. Each free lecture will begin at 6 PM and is open to the public.

The series, part of the larger Celebrate Providence 375 Years commemoration, kicks off Thursday, September 29th at 6 PM at Roger Williams National Memorial. On this opening night, park ranger and local historian John McNiff will examine and discuss the beliefs of Roger Williams and how they were echoed in a truly revolutionary document, the United States Constitution, more than 100 years after Williams' death.

Each subsequent talk will take on a distinct moment in Rhode Island history from the emergence of Rhode Island's first portable restaurants in the 19thcentury, to the Hardscrabble race riot of 1824, to an architectural competition that forever changed the face of the East Side. The series also includes a special family program at the Providence Children's Museum with storyteller Len Cabral, a public discussion moderated by "Action Speaks" host Marc Levitt, and a presentation of the Latino Oral History Project led by Marta Martinez.

"This series provides the general public with countless opportunities to explore, discuss, and contemplate the themes of hope, freedom, roots, and ingenuity, the core of all of the Celebrate Providence 375 Years programming," remarks Jennifer Smith, Site Manager at Roger Williams National Memorial. "In addition to providing a fun, and, sometimes, alternative way to presenting the diverse stories of Providence and the state of Rhode Island," continues Smith, "we were looking to move people around to various locations throughout the city, expose them to great knowledge base in the state, and to move away from, ever so slightly, the history we are already so familiar with."

Inspired Providence was made possible through a grant from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities-an independent state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information about the series, including a full list of venues and event descriptions, please visit www.nps.gov/rowi.  


Series at a glance:
9/29: Roger Williams National Memorial: Interpretation of an Idea
John McNiff -Roger Williams National Memorial-282 North Main Street, Providence, RI 02903

10/6: Monumental: A Fitting Memorial for the Founding Father
James Brayton Hall-Providence Athenaeum -251 Benefit Street, Providence, RI 02903

10/13: Stories of a Cape Verdean Raconteur
Len Cabral - Providence Children's Museum-100 South Street, Providence, RI 02903

10/20: "This I Believe" Community Dialogue: What Do the Beliefs of Roger Williams Mean to Us Today?
Marc Levitt-Providence Public Library -150 Empire Street, Providence, RI 02903

10/27: How Providence Became a City: The Impact of the Hardscrabble & Snowtown Race Riots of 1824 and 1831  
Ray Rickman-Old State House -150 Benefit Street, Providence, RI 02903

11/3: Latin Roots: The History of Latin Americans in Rhode Island
Marta Martinez-Olneyville Community Library -One Olneyville Square, Providence, RI 02909

11/10: Providence 1872: The Birth of the Diner Business that Became an American Institution
Richard J. S. Gutman-Culinary Arts Museum at Johnson & Wales-315 Harborside Boulevard, Providence, Rhode Island 02905

Roger Williams National Memorial, a unit of the National Park Service, commemorates the life of the founder of Rhode Island who was a champion of the ideals of religious freedom and liberty of conscience. For more information about Roger Williams National Memorial, please visit http://www.nps.gov/rowi/

Did You Know?

Roger Williams

Did you know Rhode Island was the last colony to sign the constitution? Rhode Island refused to sign until the Bill of Rights that held the First Amendment was implemented. Both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams recognized Roger Williams as conceiving the original concept for the amendment. More...