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God’s Little Acre: The Slave Trade in Newport with Keith Stokes

Gods Little Acre Newport Rhode Island

Event Details

Date: March 16, 2021
Time: 6:00 pm
–7:00 pm

Cemeteries are largely seen as final resting places – an end. But God’s Little Acre, a Colonial African Burying Ground in Newport, Rhode Island is the beginning point to a rich cultural tapestry that is Newport’s African and African-American history.

Recognized as the oldest and largest existing enslaved and free African heritage burying ground in America dating back to 1705, the historic site contains the remains of men, women and children who are directly connected through the African Diaspora and back to West Africa.

Don’t miss this special opportunity to hear award-winning national treasure Keith Stokes, a descendant of family buried at God’s Little Acre, who will lead us in discussion of the colonial African community in Newport, and modern preservation, restoration, research and most importantly, how African heritage and history can be reclaimed and interpreted for today’s audiences.

Mr. Stokes is presently Vice President with the 1696 Heritage Group. The 1696 Heritage Group is a historical consulting firm dedicated to helping persons and institutions of color to increase their knowledge and access to the light of truth of their unique American heritage. The firm draws on extensive knowledge and experience in ethnic American historical research, interpretation, program and product development.

Keith Stokes
Keith Stokes

Mr. Stokes has a long and distinguished career in business and community development, with degrees from Cornell University and University of Chicago. His past professional positions have included Executive Director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation and Executive Director of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce.

He has also been an Advisor for Rhode Island with the National Trust for Historic Preservation along with serving on numerous regional and national historic preservation boards including Chairman of the Touro Synagogue Foundation, Vice President & Trustee of the Preservation Society for Newport County, and Newport Historical Society. Mr. Stokes is a frequent national, state and local lecturer in community & regional planning, historic preservation and interpretation with an expertise in early African and Jewish American history. Mr. Stokes frequently appears on national historical programs including C-SPAN, Fox News Legends & Lies, and Ted Talk. Mr. Stokes recently travelled to Ghana, Africa to deliver a lecture as part of the 400th Anniversary of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

He has been the recipient of numerous local, state and national awards including the United State Small Business Administration – Rhode Island Small Business Advocate of the Year Award, American Sail Training Association Leadership Award, Rhode Island Black Heritage Society’s Fredrick Williamson Award Historic Preservation Award, Rhode Island Martin Luther King Keeper of the Dream Award and along with his wife, is the recipient of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities Prize for Creative Achievement in the Humanities.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021 6:00-7:00 pm

$10 M/$15 Non-members

Further information and context:

The cover story of the Fall 2020 National Trust for Historic Preservation Magazine on the cemetery preservation efforts provides a helpful background on its collaborative work.