Keith Stokes, Vice-President, 1696 Heritage Society
Thursday, February 22, 2018
6 p.m., Rosecliff, 548 Bellevue Avenue
Since the very founding of Newport in the early 17th century, Newporters of African heritage have lived, worked and worshipped in this historic city. While the path to prosperity included overcoming the trials and tribulations of human bondage and discrimination, they would persevere, and greatly contribute to the economic, civic and social fabric of our historic, “City by the Sea.”
The story of Gilded Age Newport in Color is anchored by the economic, social and civic achievements of African American political, business, civic, and artistic leaders. Men, women and families of color would travel to Newport from Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington to take part in a rare opportunity for persons of color during late 19th and early 20th century America for uninhibited social and cultural interchange. Gilded Age era Newport also provided seasonal and expanded employment opportunities for African heritage men and women, many of whom were a part of the recent great migration of southern families to northern urban centers during the early 20th century.
Gilded Age Newport in Color tells the largely unknown story of African American life in Newport during the 19th and turn of the 20th centuries. The presentation will unveil the historical sites, events and people associated with the African American community including images of places of worship, businesses and civic organizations that flourished along Bellevue Avenue, Historic Hill and Top of the Hill neighborhoods of early Newport.
Keith W. Stokes is a native Newport, Rhode Island resident and Vice President of the 1696 Heritage Group. Mr. Stokes has served on numerous regional and national historic preservation boards including Rhode Island Advisor for National Trust for Historic Preservation, Chairman of the Touro Synagogue Foundation, Vice President and Trustee of The Preservation Society for Newport County, Advisor for the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society and board member of the Newport Historical Society. Mr. Stokes has a long and distinguished career in business, history and community development, with degrees from Cornell University and University of Chicago. 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 has lectured extensively to regional, national and international organizations, providing training in the fields of African and Jewish American history, developing historic interpretation programs, historic main street planning and historic site recovery. He has been the recipient of the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society’s Fredrick Williamson Award, Daughters of the American Revolution Excellence in Community Service Award, American Sail Training Association Leadership Award, US SBA Minority Business Advocate, Community Service and Leadership Awards from Newport and Providence Branches of the NAACP, and along with his wife, is the recipient of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities Prize for Creative Achievement in the Humanities.
Advance registration required. Admission: Preservation Society Members $10 / General Public $15
or call 401-847-1851