“Do Lord Remember Me: The Black Church in Rhode Island” is a groundbreaking exhibit on the 250 years history of its formation and function as the community’s moral compass, town hall and developer of artists, thinkers and doers.
The exhibit tells the story in images and text of American firsts: the first free Black church - Newport; the first Black Episcopal delegation to the Diocesan Convention – Providence; the first piece of sacred music by an African – Newport Gardner; and more. According to the curator, Robb Dimmick, the exhibit “shows how African ritual merged with European ceremony to form a powerhouse of freedom, service and survival.” Astonishing accounts of burial rites, music, foodways, politics and pride evidence African Americans’ unique way out of slavery and religious restrictions to form houses of worship in Providence, South County, Newport, Bristol and Woonsocket. National figures such as Alexander Crummell, Rev. Samuel Proctor, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, and Moses Brown emerge as major players in promoting, preserving and protecting basic civil rights in Rhode Island.