PROVIDENCE, RI – To help commemorate Black History Month, Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea is offering expanded resources from the State Archives to help educators and students explore how activism in Rhode Island has shaped our history and influenced national discussions.
Available now on sos.ri.gov, these expanded educator resources include images of primary source documents that provide a glimpse into the African American experience in Rhode Island. The resources also include transcriptions and discussion prompts for use in the classroom.
"African Americans have been a vital and vibrant part of Rhode Island's culture for centuries," said Secretary Gorbea. "My team at the State Archives has done a terrific job of curating primary sources to highlight the spirit of advocacy and activism of Rhode Island's Black community for our educators and students."
Items featured in the collection include documents from some of the first African and Indigenous men to ever serve our country in war, along with letters from men seeking to enlist in Rhode Island's 14th Heavy Artillery, the first Civil War regiment comprised of African American soldiers, and petitions dating back to the 1860s from Rhode Islanders seeking to end race-based discrimination.
Secretary Gorbea has also launched an online exhibit entitled 'Bullets and Bulletins: Black Activism in Civil War Era Rhode Island.' in collaboration with Google Arts and Culture. 'Bullets and Bulletins' was an exhibition hosted at the State Archives in 2017 that explored Civil War era activism in Rhode Island through letters, petitions, and other primary source documents. The virtual collaboration with Google Arts and Culture will allow educators to bring this, and other past State Archives exhibits, into the classroom.
Finally, State Archives staff will offer virtual classroom visits throughout the month of February to help students explore these and other primary sources related to Black history. To learn more or schedule a virtual visit for your classroom, please email email@example.com or visit Secretary Gorbea's Civics and Education page on sos.ri.gov.