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This Thursday: RI State Archives to host roundtable discussion and exhibit: "African Americans, Rhode Island and the Civil War"

During the summer of 1862, Rhode Island Governor William Sprague IV proposed the formation of a "colored regiment" to aid the Union's war effort. African Americans from across the northeast wrote to Governor Sprague offering to serve. The 14th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery was established the following year.

On Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 5:30 PM, the Rhode Island State Archives will display a selection of these letters and host a discussion of the role of African Americans in Rhode Island throughout the conflict. The event is presented by Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea.

Roundtable participants will include:

Kenneth S. Carlson, Reference Archivist, Rhode Island State Archives Rob Goldman, President of Living History, a community organization that enlists Providence teens in portraying the 14th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery. Students from the Met School affiliated with Living History Clifford Montiero, veteran and former President of the NAACP Providence chapter

"Rhode Island has a rich, diverse history and has played a prominent role in our nation's development," Secretary Gorbea said. "This event offers a unique opportunity to discuss the role that African Americans played as part of the 14th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery regiment, their valiant efforts on behalf of the Union and their role in subsequent conflicts. I invite all Rhode Islanders to participate."

The Rhode Island State Archives is located at 337 Westminster Street in downtown Providence. The reception and exhibit will take place on Thursday, February 26, 2015, from 5:30 PM to 7 PM. The event is free and open to the public.

Media Contact: Gonzalo Cuervo

Related links

  • Department or agency: Office of the Secretary of State
  • Online:
  • Release date: 02-23-2015

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