Lecture: How Providence Became a City

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Date: September 10, 2009
Contact: Sparkle Bryant, 401-521-7266 ext.3006

Providence’s African-American History
Comes to Life at
Roger Williams National Memorial

On Saturday, September 26, 2009, at 11:00 am, Roger Williams National Memorial will be the setting for the lecture, HOW PROVIDENCE BECAME A CITY: The Impact of the Hardscrabble & Snowtown Race Riots of 1824 and 1831,  presented by Ray Rickman, former Deputy Secretary of State and past President of the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society.

In early 19th century America, townspeople viewed their world through the prism of the local newspaper.  The newspapers had a point of view and were written with “respectable” townspeople in mind.  It was the newspapers that wrote about the tensions in the rapidly growing town of Providence between those with wealth and those without; the tensions between those who had steady employment and those that struggled to get employment; the tensions between the African- Americans and the rest of the people. All too often these tensions played out in violent ways, as was the case with the race riots in HardScrabble and the Snowtown sections of Providence in 1824 and 1831. What was the impact of these uprisings on Providence and its ability to protect its citizens?

Join us as Ray Rickman paints a vivid picture of a growing Providence, African-American community seeking justice, and the role of local newspapers in creating divisions along the lines of race and class.

For more information on this and other park programs, please contact Park Ranger Sparkle Bryant by phone at 401.521.7266 or by e-mail at sparkle_bryant@nps.gov.

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 ideal of religious freedom.  For more information about Roger Williams National Memorial, please visit https://www.nps.gov/rowi/

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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Mailing Address:

282 North Main Street
Providence, RI 02903



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