The Witness Stones Project is an educational initiative whose mission is to restore the history and honor the humanity of the enslaved individuals who helped build our communities.

The Project provides local archival research, professional teacher development, a classroom curriculum, and public programming to help students discover and chronicle the local history of slavery. The final component of the work in each community is the placement of Witness Stone Memorials™ that honor enslaved individuals where they lived, worked, or worshiped. 

About Witness Stones: Kingston

In an effort to join the worldwide movement of people and organizations seeking to be honest with ourselves and tell a more accurate story of the role of race in our history and society, Kingston Congregational Church embarked on a partnership with the Witness Stones Project, Inc. to research and install the first Witness Stones in Rhode Island. We see this as a way to account for our church’s intimate connection with the history of slavery in our location and a way to advance the conversation of racial justice in our time.

About Our Partners

The Compass School (Kingston) administration and faculty eagerly accepted the invitation to join Kingston Congregational Church in our local Witness Stones Project. Middle school aged students and their teachers join participants of many ages from Kingston Congregational Church and the wider community in learning about the history of slavery in Rhode Island, the lives of specific enslaved individuals and in installing a permanent memorial (Witness Stones) in commemoration to these individuals.

About The Events:

Setting The Historical Stage

March 4th, 2023

A Witness to History: the Big Business of Slavery in Little Rhode Island

Presenters Christy Clark-Pujara. Public invited.

Reading + Interpreting The Historical Record

April - May, 2023

Students, Teachers, and Congregants.

Students and teachers from The Compass School and participants of many ages from Kingston Congregational Church and the wider community, will be reading, interpreting and reflecting on primary documents from the lives of two enslaved people from the Kingston area.

Marking Their Lives

June 5th, 2023

A Public Installation Ceremony

A public installation ceremony including the “unveiling” of the Witness Stones markers, presentations by Compass School students and community members, and comments and greetings from local leaders.

Merciful Conversations On Race

March 6, 13, 20, April 3

A Series Of 5 Conversations

This year to expand on the work our congregation will be doing with the Witness Stones Project, we are focusing our Adult Christian Education and Spirituality group on anti-racism, being led by trained leaders from the Rhode Island Council of Churches through their Merciful Conversations on Race program, five 2-hour Zoom sessions exploring and understanding our ideas and feelings around race.

Witness Stones Project Kickoff

As kickoff to the first Witness Stones Project in Rhode Island we are pleased to welcome renown historian and scholar, Dr. Christy Clark-Pujara, author of Dark Work: the Business of Slavery in Rhode Island and Professor of History and the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of African American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Dennis Culliton, MAT, Founder and Executive Director of The Witness Stones Project, Inc. Dr. Clark-Pujara will speak to us about Rhode Islanders’ extensive involvement in the slave trade and Dennis Culliton introduce the Witness Stones Project, a local effort to recognize and honor the lives of enslaved individuals from our local, South Kingstown, area. Mr. Culliton will share the work of The Witness Stones Project and the current Witness Stones Project in Kingston, Rhode Island”

If you have any questions please call the church (401) 783-5330
or call the office at: office@kingcongchurch.org

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