This March and April, the Rhode Island Historical Society, in collaboration with the Roots Cultural Center, the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society, the Newport Historical Society, the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage, and the Center for the Study of Slavery & Justice at Brown University, will continue a series of talks that mark the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WWI, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Marcia Chatelain, a historian of girls and girlhood in America, will discuss the role African American children have played in shaping the goals, strategies, and motivations for black activism during pivotal moments in history. Drawing upon her new book South Side Girls: Growing Up in the Great Migration, Chatelain will present an overview on how children have symbolized hope for the future, but sometimes complicated the way adults felt about the present. This lecture will challenge the audience to consider how children express their sense of citizenship and make demands on communities, schools, and families. We encourage attendees to bring photographs and mementos of family members from the 20th century to be scanned into a digital archive on 20th-century African American Rhode Islanders. Following the talk, RIHS staff will be on hand to scan the items and offer advice on how best to care for these fragile materials that tell such important stories. “Combating Injustice: A Public Dialogue” is made possible through major funding support from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, an independent state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Council seeds, supports, and strengthens public history, cultural heritage, civic education, and community engagement by and for all Rhode Islanders.