Sowams Heritage Area

Slavery and the Slave Trade in Rhode Island

A new yearlong series at Roger Williams University, “Hidden Truths: Stories of Race and Place,” presents important conversations on the marginalized stories of our local area, and its complicated history with Indigenous peoples, the slave trade, environmental justice and immigration, and how these issues surface as present day disparities and systemic racial inequities.


Roger Williams University Associate Dean General of  Education Jason Jacobs introduces Associate Professor of History Charlotte Carrington-Farmer for a one-hour presentation on Slavery and the Slave Trade in Rhode Island on November 19, 2020.


Many people are unaware that Rhode Island, specifically Bristol and Newport, dominated the slave trading business.Enslaved peoples lived and labored in Rhode Island from the birth of the colony until slavery was abolished in 1842.


Charlotte Carrington-Farmer used primary sources to tell the story of slavery and the slave trade in Rhode Island, addressing both Indigenous and African slavery, and the legacy of slavery through present day.

Click here for a one-hour video of Dr. Carrington-Farmer’s presentation.

For more information about the series and to see more events, read “RWU Presents a Year-Long Series: “Hidden truths: Stories of Race and Place.”

Click here for another presentation in the series entitled “Decolonizing Sowams: Resisting the Erasure of Indigenous Lives in the East Bay of Rhode Island”

Click here for a presentation on slavery by the Warren Preservation Society in 2016.