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Legacies of Slavery & Freedom: BPT's Little Liberia Journey
May 18, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
<![CDATA[FRIDAY MAY 18TH 7PM-9PM AT THE BIJOU THEATER... Keith Stokes from the 1696 Heritage Group, a Little Liberia descendant, will present the 220 year story resulting from one of the most famous mass slave emancipation and reparation efforts in history. Titled, "Legacies of Slavery & Freedom: Little Liberia Journey," the presentation will highlight the scholarly research and documentation that also tells the story of the evolution of free African heritage communities during the late 18th and early 19th century in America including Philadelphia, New York City and Newport that directly feed into the Little Liberia neighborhood of Bridgeport, Connecticut. The presentation will include many images of Stokes family heirlooms from early Little Liberia between 1840 and 1900. Keith Stokes will present the story of African heritage evolution from enslavement to freedom through the journey of his ancestors from West Africa, Jamaica to America, with a focus on those that settled in Little Liberia in the 1830's. He'll present documentation that demonstrates that Little Liberia was part of an extensive network of free communities of color in early America that became flash-points for early African heritage places of worship, commerce and civic organizations. Also he'll speak to the many projects he has been involved in to research and interpret African heritage sites with examples from Newport, Bahamas, Barbados and most recently in Jamaica. Tickets are $25 per person, and all ticket sales will go to support further non-profit cultural programming for the Mary & Eliza Freeman Center for History & Community and the Bridgeport Arts & Cultural Council (501C-3) BIOGRAPHY Keith W. Stokes is a native Newport, Rhode Island resident and presently Vice President with the 1696 Heritage Group. Mr. Stokes has served on numerous regional and national historic preservation boards including Rhode Island Advisor for National Trust for Historic Preservation, Chairman of the Touro Synagogue Foundation, Vice President and Trustee of the Preservation Society for Newport County, Advisor for the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society and board member of the Newport Historical Society. Mr. Stokes has a long and distinguished career in business, history and community development, with degrees from Cornell University and University of Chicago. Mr. Stokes is a frequent national, state and local lecturer in community & regional planning, historic preservation and interpretation with an expertise in early African and Jewish American history. Mr. Stokes has lectured extensively to regional, national and international organizations, providing training in the fields of African and Jewish American history, developing historic interpretation programs, historic main street planning and historic site recovery. He has been the recipient of the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society’s Fredrick Williamson Award, Daughters of the American Revolution Excellence in Community Service Award, American Sail Training Association Leadership Award, US SBA Minority Business Advocate, Community Service and Leadership Awards from Newport and Providence Branches of the NAACP, and along with his wife, is the recipient of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities Prize for Creative Achievement in the Humanities.]]>