Tag: Civil Rights / Abolitionists

Margaret F. Ackroyd

Margaret Ackroyd was a native Rhode Islander who served in the State Labor Department for thirty years before her retirement. She served as Chief in the Division of Women and Children and Commissioner of Minimum Wage.  She became known as the “architect of non-discriminatory employment standards for women”. Born in Providence, she was a daughter of Timothy

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Zachariah Allen

Zacharian Allen, 1795-1882, was a lawyer, inventor, and civic leader of the nineteenth century. One of his most notable inventions was the home hot-air furnace. He also originated the Providence Water Works and is credited with introducing the first vehicles to the Providence Fire Company. Allen was also instrumental in setting up the mutal fire

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Andrew J. Bell Jr.

Andrew J. Bell, Jr. was born in Providence in September 1907, the son of Andrew J. and Beatrice J. Bell.  After graduating from Classical High School, Bell studied Business Administration at Bryant College and graduated from the New England Institute of Mortuary Science in Boston.   In 1932, during the depths of the Great Depression,

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Moses Brown

Moses Brown, 1738-1836, the youngest of the five Brown brothers was a Providence civic leader, entrepreneur, sponsor of Samuel Slater, and prominent Quaker abolitionist. Moses Brown was also a founder of the Providence Athaneum and Moses Brown School.

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John Carter Brown

Born in 1797, the youngest of the three surviving children of Nicholas Brown II and Ann Carter, daughter of John Carter, the noted Providence printer, John Carter Brown was raised in a family tradition of public leadership and philanthropy. While at Brown University, he joined an undergraduate society to provide needy students with free books.

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Arnold Buffum

Arnold Buffum  was one of Rhode Island’s leading abolitionists.  He was born and raised in a farmhouse near Union Village in present-day North Smithfield. His childhood home, called the William Buffum House for his Quaker father who built it, still stands at 383 Great Road. Despite his rural roots, Arnold Buffum became an entrepreneur whose

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Elizabeth Lillie Buffum Chace Wyman

Lillie Chace Wyman was the eighth child born into the Quaker family of Samuel Buffington Chace and Elizabeth Buffum Chace on December 10, 1847. Her maternal grandfather was Arnold Buffum the noted Rhode Island abolitionist, a co-founder and first president of the New England Anti-Slavery Society. Her mother was the leading abolitionist and woman suffragist

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Elizabeth Buffum Chace

Elizabeth Buffum Chace, the first woman to be memorialized with a statue in the Rhode Island State House, was an antislavery activist and a pioneering advocate for women’s suffrage. The daughter of abolitionist leader Arnold Buffum, she married fellow Quaker Samuel Chace, a Fall River textile manufacturer. The Chaces had ten children; tragically the oldest five died

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Prudence Crandall

Prudence Crandall  was born in Hopkinton, Rhode Island, the daughter of Pardon Crandall, a Quaker farmer and Esther Carpenter, both of whom were descended from prominent old-line South County families.  When Prudence was ten she moved to a farm in nearby Canterbury, Connecticut, but returned to Rhode Island from 1825 to 1830 as a student

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Sarah Elizabeth Doyle

Doyle, Sarah Elizabeth, 1830-1922 Sarah Elizabeth Doyle (1830-1922) was a lifelong resident of Rhode Island who participated in the social reform ferment that engulfed the state during the Gilded Age. Despite the conservative political nature of local thinking, she successfully pioneered educational opportunities for women at the highest level. She entered Providence High School during

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Charles E. Gorman

Gorman, Charles Edmund, 1844-1917 Charles E. Gorman was Rhode Island’s foremost constitutional reformer of the late 19th century. He was born in Boston in 1844 to an Irish immigrant father for whom he was named and a Yankee mother, Sarah Woodbury, who traced her Massachusetts ancestry to the Cape Ann colony of the early 1620s.

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Thomas Robinson Hazard

  Hazard, Thomas R. (Thomas Robinson), 1797-1886   Thomas Robinson Hazard was a South Kingstown manufacturer, agriculturalist, author, and social reformer who embodied the egalitarian spirit of the pre-Civil War age of reform.   Affectionately called “Shepard Tom” because of his prize sheep herd, Hazard was a seventh generation descendant of Thomas Hazard, the progenitor

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Rowland Gibson Hazard

Rowland Gibson Hazard was born in South Kingstown, Rhode Island on October 9, 1801, the fourth of nine children of Rowland Hazard and Mary Peace of Charleston, South Carolina. In 1819, with his brother Isaac, he assumed control of his father’s small woolen mill in the village of Peace Dale, which had been named for

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Rev. Samuel Hopkins

Reverend Samuel Hopkins, 1721-1803, of Newport, was a Congregational theologian and reformer. As pastor of Newport’s First Congregational Church Hopkins preached his doctrine of “disinterested benevolence” which led him to embrace the antislavery cause. His impact on 19th-century abolitionist thought was significant.

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Lionel Joseph Jenkins

Lionel Joseph Jenkins, a life- long leader in the civil rights movement, was born in Washington, D.C. on June 20, 1934, the son of Clarzell V. Jenkins and Mabel (Brown) Jenkins. During his childhood, segregation was the law of the land, even in the nations capital, so his determined parents sent him to gain an

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George S. Lima Sr

George S. Lima, Sr., the son of immigrants from Cape Verde, spent his adolescent years in Harlem, Fall River, and Providence with his Cape Verdean family. His life changed dramatically when he enrolled at North Carolina A&T State University in 1939 on a football scholarship. It was there he also learned to pilot planes. When

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Sophia R. Little

Sophia Little was born in Newport in 1799, the daughter of Asher Robbins. Her father was a prominent Rhode Island politician who served as U.S. Attorney General for Rhode Island and then in the state legislature before serving as U.S. Senator from 1825 to 1839. Not much is known about Sophia’s early education other than

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John Carter Minkins

He was the first African American editor of a white newspaper. He was a renowned speaker and defender of human rights, attacking segregation and discrimination. John Carter Minkins came into this life on January 29, 1869 in Norfolk, Virginia. His mother died very young and he never met his white father. Raised by his grandmother, John was educated

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Catherine Robinson

Catherine Robinson, an outspoken champion of civil rights, approached that goal through practical application of better race relations. She was Assistant Director of the University of Rhode Island Extension Division Service until her mandatory retirement.

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Rev. Anna Garlin Spencer

Anna Garlin Spencer (1851-1931) was born in Attleboro, Massachusetts but spent her formative years in Providence. Her embrace of progressive causes and her quest for social justice can be traced to her abolitionist mother and an aunt who worked with the homeless.   Anna began to write for the Providence Journal at age 19 and worked

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Reverend Mahlon Van Horne

Reverend Mahlon Van Horne (1840-1910) had a career that ranged from minister of the Gospel at the black Union Congregational Church at Newport to minister of diplomacy as United States Consul to St. Thomas in the West Indies. He was at heart always a teacher. Bom in Princeton New Jersey in 1840, Van Horne was

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Alva Vanderbilt Belmont

Alva Belmont a Newport socialite was born on January 17, 1853 in Mobile, Alabama, one of six children to Murray and Phoebe Smith. She was married twice, first to William K. Vanderbilt and later to Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont. Following the death of her second husband in 1908, Alva moved back to Marble House, her

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Frances H. Whipple Green McDougall

Frances Whipple Green McDougall (1805-1878)was one of Rhode Island’s most significant mid-nineteenth century writers and reformers. She was born in Smithfield where she spent her childhood in modest circumstances despite her membership in two of Rhode Island’s pioneering families. Frances began her writing career by publishing her poems in local newspapers and by editing, in

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George A. Wiley

Warwick’s George Wiley (1931-1973) compiled a record of service to his country which equals the sacrifices and service of his fellow hometowners, Nathanael and Christopher Greene. Like those men of the Revolutionary War generation, George, too, became a champion of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Whereas the Greenes took direct military action against

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James N. Williams

James N. Williams was the first and long-time Executive Director of the Urban League of Rhode Island and participated in the triumphs in the battle for racial equality in this nation. He also was active in many civic endeavors and served as a member of the state Advisory Council on Aging and other organizations which

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Frederick C. Williamson Sr.

Frederick C. Williamson, Sr.,1915-2010, was State Director of the RI Department of Community Affairs and Rhode Island’s Historic Preservation Officer. He was instrumental in many of the state’s historic buildings and sites accepted for the National Historic Register. At the time of his death, in 2010, Frederick Williamson was the longest serving state historic preservation

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