September 27
3-4:30 PM

Newport Art Museum @ 76 Bellevue Ave., Newport
Fee: Free
Refreshments: No
Recording Allowed: Yes

African Heritage Entrepreneurship and Makers of History in Newport  

It’s well known that Newport, RI is filled with history. But whose history are we telling? And who gets to tell it?

Join Keith Stokes and the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society on a tour of Bellevue Ave in Newport to explore the untold and sometimes mis-told stories of African heritage entrepreneurship in Newport. Learn about these makers, innovators and inventors of the gilded age whose hands and minds helped build Newport. And walk the area where many of these African American small business owners kept their shops on Bellevue Ave. During this tour and presentation, Keith will share artifacts and examples of the impact these forefathers brought to the historic city by the sea. 

Event begins with a presentation at the Newport Art Museum followed by a walking tour of Bellevue Avenue.

Keith Stokes

Mr. Stokes is presently Vice President with the 1696 Heritage Group. The 1696 Heritage Group is a historical consulting firm dedicated to helping persons and institutions of color to increase their knowledge and access to the light of truth of their unique American heritage.

The firm draws on extensive knowledge and experience in ethnic American historical research, interpretation, program, and
product development. Mr. Stokes has a long and distinguished career in business and community development, with degrees from Cornell University and the University of Chicago. His past professional positions have included Executive Director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation and Executive Director of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce.

He has also been an Advisor for Rhode Island with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and served on numerous regional and national historic preservation boards, including Chairman of the Touro Synagogue Foundation, Vice President & Trustee of the Preservation Society for Newport County, and Newport Historical Society. 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 frequently appears on national historical programs, including C-SPAN, Fox
News Legends & Lies, and Ted Talk. Mr. Stokes has traveled to Ghana, Africa, to deliver a lecture as part of the 400th Anniversary of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Recently, he was the lead researcher and author of “A Matter of Truth” report for the examination and documentation of the role of the City of Providence and State of Rhode Island in supporting a “Separate and Unequal” existence for African heritage, Indigenous, and people of color.

He has been the recipient of numerous local, state, and national awards, including the United State Small Business Administration – Rhode Island Small Business Advocate of the Year Award, American Sail Training Association Leadership Award, Rhode Island Black Heritage Society’s Fredrick Williamson Award Historic Preservation Award, Rhode Island Martin Luther King Keeper of the Dream Award and along
with his wife, is the recipient of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities Prize for Creative
Achievement in the Humanities.