The Little Compton Historical Society and The Brownell Library are pleased to welcome Ray Rickman to Little Compton to speak on “Racism and its Roots in Slavery” at 6 PM, Wednesday, August 3, 2016. The event is free and open to the public and will take place in the tent behind the Brownell Library. Refreshments will be served thanks to a generous “Friend of the Brownell Library.”
Ray Rickman is a long-time advocate for equality and justice in Rhode Island and is considered a leader in the promotion of African American history and culture. He resided in Little Compton every September for eleven years from 2000 to 2011.
Mr. Rickman has been a prominent figure in Rhode Island politics and culture since he came to this state over three decades ago. He is a former State Representative from College Hill in Providence and served as Deputy Secretary of State from 2000 to 2002. Mr. Rickman is also a rare book dealer and conducts general and African American cultural tours of the College Hill neighborhood. He is a former president of the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society and was secretary of the Rhode Island Historical Society for seven years. He was also the first treasurer of the Heritage Harbor Museum and is a member of the Rhode Island 1663 Colonial Charter Commission. He and the late Posey Wiggins co-taught a class using the 1883 William J. Brown autobiography as a tool to teach about racial and cultural issues in 19th-century Rhode Island. In the 1970s, Rickman served as Chief of Staff for United States Congressman John Conyers, Jr. During his tenure working for the Congressman, Ray worked next to Rosa Parks.
Ray currently serves as the president of the Rickman Group, a consulting firm that helps nonprofit organizations and other small businesses with development and fundraising and as the executive director of Stages of Freedom, a non-profit organization that produces and promotes Black cultural events to raise funds for their programs that engage and empower youth of color in Rhode Island.
Among Stages of Freedoms’ programming is Swim Empowerment, which raises funds to provide swimming lessons to youth of color and to increase the state’s awareness of the history of exclusion of African Americans from public pools and the resulting disparity in drowning related injuries and death that disproportionately afflict communities of color.
This talk is a collaboration between the Brownell Library and the Little Compton Historical Society and is part of a year-long project honoring the 200th anniversary of the end of slavery in Little Compton. The Historical Society will be hosting other speakers is a series featuring authors and historians with expertise on slavery and freedom in New England. The series is made possible by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and will run through February 2017. Each event is free and open to the public.
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