NEW: Mayor Taveras to Unveil Commemorative Plaque at 24 Meeting Street
Monday, July 23, 2012
Providence Mayor Angel Taveras on Saturday will join The Rhode Island Black Heritage Society to unveil a plaque at 24 Meeting Street, formerly The Meeting Street School, which, in 1828, became the first public school in Rhode Island to be open to African American children.
“We’re so pleased that 24 Meeting Street will not only persevere but thrive under the expert stewardship of James Hall and the Providence Preservation Society,” said Rhode Island Black Heritage Society Senior Advisor Ray Rickman. “This was one of the first schoolhouses in the United States to admit Black students and, remember, this was over thirty years before the Civil War began."
The Rhode Island Black Heritage Society preserves physical manifestations of local African Americans’ achievements in the fields of military service, business, politics, the arts, and education. Its permanent collection includes slave documents; a pew from the historic Pond Street Church; garments and medals that belonged to legendary opera performer Sissieretta Jones (1868-1933); and original work by celebrated painter Edward Mitchell Bannister, founder and creative force behind the Providence Art Club.
“The Meeting Street School,” reads the historic plaque, one of several in the area The Rhode Island Black Heritage Society has sponsored, “The first public school to be open to Afro-American children in 1828.”
Providence Mayor Angel Taveras will join Rhode Island Black Heritage Society President Joyce Stevos in unveiling the brass plaque, a gift from the Gorham Manufacturing Company. Senator Jack Reed, Mayor Taveras, Ray Rickman, Joyce Stevos, and Superintendent of Providence Schools Susan Follett Lusi will all deliver remarks. Providence Preservation Society Executive Director James Hall, Providence School Board President Keith Oliveira, and National Education Association Rhode Island Executive Director Robert Walsh are also expected in attendance.
At the conclusion of the dedication ceremony, The Rhode Island Black Heritage Society will host a reception across the street at the Shakespeare’s Head Garden, 21 Meeting Street behind the Shakespeare’s Head Building, the current location of the Providence Preservation Society. Both the ceremony and the reception are free and open to the public.
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