African Heritage Portraits

African Heritage Portraits
in Gilded Age Rhode Island

Far too many popular depictions of American history exclude people of African heritage. African heritage persons have been an important part of the Rhode Island historical landscape since the earliest days of settlement. Creative Survival: African Heritage Portraits in Gilded Age Rhode Island is a collection of images that provide a rare glimpse into the past of how people of color lived, worked and worshipped in early Rhode Island and America through historic photographic portraits. Fashionably dressed, these important images of Rhode Island inhabitants present a celebration of living during an era between 1865 and 1930.

The images come from the collections of the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society and 1696 Heritage Group Collection, as well as individual family collections. Most have names and details of the person or group photographed. Several images do not have information and hopefully through broader public viewership, more information can be collected and properly attributed to the images.

"If there was a watering place in America where respectable, refined and well-bearing colored ladies and gentlemen have as little reason to feel their color as in Newport."

- Colored American Newspaper, 1886



Onley Street Baptist Church.jpg



Civic & Social