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

Saturday, March 4th from 10:00am 12:00pm at Kingston Congregational Church
2610 Kingstown Road, Kingston, RI - Free To The Public!

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.

A public forum on the often overlooked history of slavery in Rhode Island. Free to the public.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”

The Presenters

Christy Clark-Pujara earned a BA from the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN) and a Ph.D. in History from the University of Iowa, Iowa City. She is currently a Professor of History and the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of African American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on the experiences of Black people in British and French North America in the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries. Her first book Dark Work: The Business of Slavery in Rhode Island (NYU Press), examines how the business of slavery—the buying and selling of people, food, and goods—shaped the experience of slavery, the process of emancipation, and the realities of Black freedom in Rhode Island from the colonial period through the American Civil War. Her current book project, Black on the Midwestern Frontier: Contested Freedoms in Wisconsin, 1725—1868, examines how the practice of race-based slavery, Black settlement, and debates over abolition and Black rights shaped race relations in the Midwest. She is the recent recipient of the Honored Instructor Award, the Vilas Faculty Early Career Investigator Award, and the University of Wisconsin System Outstanding Woman of Color in Education Award. Clark-Pujara is committed to both academic scholarship and public history. She published “In Need of Care: African American Families Transform the Providence Association for the Benefit of Colored Orphans during the Final Collapse of Slavery, 1839-1846,” Journal of Family History Volume 45, Issue 3 of Journal of Family History (Spring 2020). Her public history work includes a piece in the Smithsonian American History Magazine, “Many Tulsa Massacres: How the Myth of a Liberal North Erases a Long History of White Violence (August 2020).” Clark-Pujara is also a co-principal investigator on an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Just Futures Grant, “Humanities Education for Anti-racism Literacy (HEALSTEM) in Sciences and Medicine,” for the University of Wisconsin Madison, 2021-2024.

Dennis Culliton, M.A.T., C.A.G.S., is the Founder and Executive Director of the Witness Stones Project. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps before attending college at the University of Massachusetts, where he received degrees in anthropology and economics. After a decade working for the federal government, he went on to Quinnipiac University, graduating with a Master of Arts in Teaching in history. While in his third decade of teaching, he started the Witness Stones Project with his students in Guilford, Connecticut.

Culliton is the recipient of the Guilford Preservation Alliance’s Charles Hubbard Award for his research and public education on local slavery and the Connecticut Council for Social Studies’ Special Project Award for developing the innovative curriculum that prepares students to tell the story of the enslaved in their own communities. Culliton was awarded the Shoreline Newspapers’ Beacon Award for his work on the Witness Stones Project and for his volunteer service. Dennis is devoted to his wife, Linda, his three adult children, and his grandchildren, Frankie and Joseph.

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

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