The effort to erect a monument in Newport’s Liberty Square to commemorate the lives of Africans who were brought there as part of the Atlantic slave trade and to shine a light on the role the city played has won a $5,000 grant from the Rhode Island Foundation. With the latest grant, the Newport Middle Passage Port Marker Project has received $20,000 from the Foundation in the past year.
“The ultimate goal is to celebrate African-American culture. Many of our black youth are struggling. We feel that when the African-American youth in our city view this monument, they will experience pride, self-worth and a desire to work toward self-sufficiency,” said Victoria Johnson, who chairs the initiative’s board of directors.
The grant is one of more than dozen awarded by the Foundation statewide through its Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund. The program supports nonprofits that offer youth development and mentoring, promote the history and achievements of Blacks in Rhode Island, preserve the culture of the Black community and strive to uplift low-income Black Rhode Islanders.
“Providing the Black community with the resources to thrive goes to the core of commitment to equity and our vision for ensuring that the future is bright for a changing Rhode Island,” said Adrian Bonéy, the grant programs officer at the Foundation who oversees the program.
In addition to the grants, the Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund awarded more than $47,000 in scholarships to Black students.