URI scholars to discuss ‘Slavery’s Long Shadow’ Feb. 10, historian Anne Bailey will speak on ‘Historical Memory and the Debate over Reparations’ Feb. 24

Black History Month showcases culture, art, discussions aimed to teach, inspire

Media Contact: Dawn Bergantino, 401-874-4147 |
Anne Bailey
Anne C. Bailey. (Photo courtesy of Anne C. Bailey)

KINGSTON, R.I. – Feb. 6, 2020  – Scholars from the University of Rhode Island will discuss “Slavery’s Long Shadow,” Monday, Feb. 10, as part of the University’s commemoration of Black History Month.  The panel, moderated by Marcus Nevius, assistant professor of History and Africana Studies, will explore the pasts, presents, and futures of more than four centuries of perseverance. Marking the 400th year since slavery began in America, panelists will look at different areas that reflect the evolution of African Americans and the African American experience in this nation.  The panel will begin at 4 p.m. in the Hardge Forum, Multicultural Student Services Center, 74 Lower College Road, Kingston.

“We hope that the URI community will be able to reflect together on the African American experience – particularly slavery and its 400-year legacy – as well as recognize the significance of reflecting on the past in order to forge ahead with our collective future,” says Vanessa Wynder Quainoo, chair of URI’s Black History Month Planning Committee and associate professor of Communication Studies and Africana Studies.

Panelists include: Quainoo; Joanna N. Ravello, director community & organizational development, Office of Community, Equity & Diversity; Norman Barber, part-time faculty in Africana Studies and Adam Franklin, master’s degree candidate in Communication Studies.

Events are scheduled throughout the month of February and into March. These include lectures and discussions that aim to educate and inspire, as well as events celebrating African American culture and art.

Later this month, noted historian and author Anne C. Bailey will deliver a keynote address on “Historical Memory and the Debate over Reparations.” The keynote will be presented in the Hardge Forum on Monday, Feb. 24 at 4 p.m. Bailey is a professor of History at SUNY Binghamton. She is the author of African Voices of the Atlantic Slave Trade: Beyond the Silence and the Shame, (Beacon Press) and You Can Make A Difference: The Story of Martin Luther King Jr.(Bantam/Doubleday/Dell).

Her most recent book, The Weeping Time: Memory and the Largest Slave Auction in American History (Cambridge University Press), chronicles the largest slave auction in history which occurred in 1859 Savannah, Georgia. In addition to conducting exhaustive research on the Butler family, which owned the plantation where more than 400 men, women and children were sold into slavery, Bailey conducted interviews with the living descendants of slaves sold on the auction block, showing how the memories of slavery have shaped people’s lives today.

In addition to teaching and writing, Bailey has spoken around the country. She recently participated in The New York Times 1619 Project, and in 2013 she was invited to speak at the United Nations in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.

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Numerous University departments and groups are planning events and contributing to the 2019 URI celebration of Black History Month. Check the University calendar for new events and speakers. Unless otherwise noted, all events are free and open to the public.

Saturday, Feb. 8

2 p.m. Concert: “TIL EARTH AND HEAVEN RING! A Musical Celebration with Earl H. Bright, III.”

This concert is a celebration of traditional spirit songs, spirituals, gospel and contemporary music – the sound of the gospel choir that has provided inspiration, strength and power to endure the whip and chains, to persevere through adversity and to overcome racism. It is the music of slaves in the fields – with hidden messages about escaping bondage, the Jim Crow era, and Civil Rights to the most recent compositions by Rhode Island’s Earl H. Bright III.  Bright is a choir director and composer of note whose original compositions ring out anew to overcome and persevere.  The concert will feature area singers and guest artists under the direction of Bright, who will share the richness of African-American music that inspired generations. Sponsored by Urban Arts and Culture.

Location:  URI Providence Campus, 80 Washington St., Providence

Monday, Feb. 10

4 p.m. “Slavery’s Long Shadow: A Panel Discussion”

The institution of slavery casts a long shadow over U.S. history.  A panel of URI scholars, moderated by Marcus Nevius, assistant professor of History and Africana Studies, will explore the pasts, presents, and futures of more than four centuries of perseverance.

Location:  Multicultural Student Services Center, Hardge Forum, 74 Lower College Road, Kingston

 Monday, Feb. 24

4 p.m.  Historian Anne C. Bailey discusses “Historical Memory and the Debate over Reparations”

Anne C. Bailey is a writer, historian and professor of History at SUNY Binghamton. Her latest book, The Weeping Time: Memory and the Largest Slave Auction in American History, is one of the first to examine the March 1859 Savannah, Georgia auction which sold over 400 men, women and children into slavery.

Location:  Multicultural Student Services Center, Hardge Forum, 74 Lower College Road, Kingston

Through Thursday, Feb. 28

Exhibit: “WE SHALL OVERCOME!”

Gallery Hours: Monday -Thursday 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Closed weekends and holidays.

The exhibit features art and artifacts from the expansive museum collection of Black Americana gathered and exhibited for educational purposes by Onna Moniz-John. The materials depict the construction, advertisement and legitimizing of racism and prejudice. The exhibit will also celebrate, recognize and honor heroes past and present who have fought daily for the abolition of slavery, for civil rights, for human rights and dignity, to the most recent Black Lives Matter movement. Sponsored by Urban Arts and Culture.

Location: URI Providence Campus, 80 Washington St., Providence

Thursday, Mar. 19

4 p.m. “An Afternoon with Vatic Kuumba”

Well-known local artist, activist, playwright, poet and storyteller Vatic Kuumba will deliver a dramatic reading.

Location:  Fine Arts Center, Main Gallery, 105 Upper College Road, Kingston