A plaque with the words rhode island history on it.

Community invited to RI Slave History Medallion installation, Sunday, in Barrington

Community invited to RI Slave History Medallion installation ceremony on Sunday, Oct. 2

The local community is invited to a special Rhode Island Slave History Medallion Installation Ceremony on Sunday, October 2 at 2 pm, at Barrington Public Library. 

History students and graphic design students will present the work they did for the Town of Barrington’s slave history medallion initiative, through the RWU Community Partnerships Center. They will present their findings of the town’s role in the transatlantic slave trade and stories of the enslaved and freed people of color that lived in Barrington and showcase a designed research display and exhibit dedicated to future educational awareness initiatives.

This historic medallion will recognize and remember the enslaved peoples of Barrington. This is a collaborative effort of the Rhode Island Slave History Medallions organization, Barrington Public Library, the Town of Barrington, the Barrington Preservation Society, Roger Williams University, and the Friends of the Barrington Library. Additional support is provided by the RI Foundation, Prince Charitable Trusts, EJMP Fund, and RI State Legislature.

The ceremony will take place on the lawn in front of Town Hall starting at 2 pm, followed by a reception and poster-viewing in the Collis Family Gallery on the second floor of the library.

Free and open to all. No registration required. Rain or shine (in the event of poor weather, the ceremony will be moved inside to the Salem Family Auditorium).


Founded in 2017, RISHM works to raise public awareness of Rhode Island’s significant role
in the historic institution of slavery. We conduct research and install Medallion markers in
partnership with historic sties, and offer public ceremonies that tell the little known
narratives of the enslaved, commemorating their lives and contributions with multicultural
performances, inspiring racial healing.

Marking the Landscape
Our unique bronze Medallion is equipped with QR code technology that links visitors,
using their mobile phone or digital device, directly to a documented and illustrated history
of that site, each written by historians and authors, and available free at the online archive

We have installed Medallions and presented public educational programs at these seven
sites, marking:

1 – Bowen’s Wharf, Newport— the role of enslaved workers in maritime industry
2 – Patriots Park, Portsmouth— enslaved African + Indigenous military service
3 – Smith’s Castle, North Kingstown— generations of enslaved workers buried on site
4 – East Ferry Wharf, Jamestown— native peoples cultural and economic contributions
5 – Linden Place, Bristol— economic gains earned from the Transatlantic Slave Trade
6 – DeWolf Tavern, Bristol— descendants of the enslaved & their enslavers
7 – Rocky Hill School, East Greenwich— home of the Narragansett and African enslaved

These additional institutions are participating in our program during 2022:
8 – Historic New England at Casey Farm, Saunderstown – June 19
9 – Willian Ellery Channing House, Newport – July, for enslaved baker Duchess Quamino
10 – Saylesville Quaker Meeting House, Lincoln – Sept. 24
11 – Trinity Church, Newport – Oct. 30
12 – Barrington Public Library, Barrington – Fall
13 – The Vernon House, Newport Restoration Foundation, Newport – Fall

Heritage Tourism and Cultural Diversity
Our goal is to mount Medallions in at least 25 Colonial era cities and towns connected to
slavery, ultimately creating a Medallion Map of Remembrance. This will be a vital
contribution to Rhode Island’s heritage tourism and cultural diversity statewide initiative. A
Medallion road map will provide an inclusive state history for residents, students,
educators, researchers and visitors, especially families of BIPOC descent.

Evidence of Need and Support
As Rhode Islanders are reckoning with the lasting effect of slavery, the RI State Legislature
honored us with House Resolution (2020-H 7643), sanctioning RISHM as a statewide
education program and urging communities to publicly acknowledge their slave histories.
In 2022, the RISHM Board and staff completed a business planning process and with the
help of a consultant developed a five-year Strategic Business Plan. Armed with guidance
in diversifying funds and Medallion sales development, and with increasing public interest
in our Medallion program, we are confidently scaling up our operations with necessary
staff and business tools to successfully meet the demand.

We are grateful for the generous support of businesses, foundations, and many individuals:
Bank Newport, Black Bannister Fund, EJMP Fund for Philanthropy, June Rockwell Levy
Fund, Prince Charitable Trusts, Rhode Island Foundation, RI State Council on the Arts, RI
Council for the Humanities, RI State Tourism Dept, Herman H. Rose Media Access Fund,
Roger Williams University, Van Beuren Charitable Foundation, and more. Our dedicated
RISHM Board of Directors are working hard to support our mission.

We are seeking new partnerships in celebrating Rhode Island’s cultural diversity. We welcome you to find out more and please join our effort!