The Rhode Island Slave History Medallion Initiative: In Reflection on Juneteenth.
Updated: Apr 23
Over the past few semesters, Professor Charlotte Carrington-Farmer and her students have worked with the Rhode Island Slave History Medallions project (RISHM). The students and Community Engagement helped organize several events to inform the public about the lives of enslaved individuals in Rhode Island. Their first event was in celebration of the installation of a medallion at Linden Place during their Juneteenth event last summer. Recently, they have been involved in two highly successful informative events in Newport and Barrington.
Founded and directed by Charles Roberts, RISHM is a non-profit statewide initiative and educational awareness program striving to inform Rhode Island, and all people in southeastern New England of the immense slave history of their towns, cities, and states. There are countless stories of enslaved peoples that are unknown to so many people, while the stories of their enslavers are widely known and taught in schools. The RISHM project is working to tell as many of their stories as possible, and help people frame the legacies of their lives.
Roger Williams students Kristen Black, History and Preservation double major ’23, Courtney Garrity, History Major ’22 and Maddy McKeown, History Major ’22, have spent the past few semesters learning and working with Professor Charlotte Carrington Farmer. The Community Partnership Center (CPC) at RWU was able to support Professor Carrington-Farmer’s History 429 course in their partnership with RISHM, to conduct and present research to the RI community, and educate them on all the history of slavery.
On Saturday February 26th, Community Engagement at RWU had the pleasure of attending the
“Benevolence and Success in the Era of Slavery: Duchess Quamino and William Ellery
Channing” event put on by RISHM. The event was held at the Channing Memorial
Church in Newport. At this event, visitors learned about Duchess Quamino, her enslavement,
and many of the elements that surrounded her relationship with William Ellery Channing and his
The students and RISHM told the story of Duchess Quamino, who was enslaved along with her children by the Channing family. Like Quamino’s story, there are many untold stories of enslaved families that need to be told. This is why the medallion project is so important. The RISHM project aims to bring all of these stories to light in an easy and accessible way, through QR codes placed at each significant location. These are readily available to the public through easy scannable QR codes on RISHM’s medallions. These medallions are currently located in Bristol at Linden Place, and DeWolf Tavern.
On Wednesday April 13th, RISHM, Professor Carrington-Farmer, Professor Farmer, and RWU
students worked with Barrington Preservation Society to put on an event for the town of Barrington to showcase research they conducted on Barrington’s slave history. A new history medallion with a QR code will be erected in Barrington to make this information easily available to the public (location TBD). This partnership between RISHM, RWU, and local historical and preservation societies helps to highlight the difficult but important history of Rhode Island’s history of slavery. RWU students help to provide the necessary research, analysis, written pieces, promotional materials, and much more, without which these stories might have remained untold.
Today, Juneteenth (June 19th 2022) marks the one-year anniversary of the Rhode Island Slave History Medallion being erected at Linden Place. This anniversary marks one year of making this important history readily available and easy for the public to learn about.
The partnership between RISHM and RWU through the CPC has helped to educate the community on slavery in both R.I. and in broader U.S. history.
Learn more about RISHM at rishm.org