About Us

Our Honored Founders

Rowena Stewart – Founder



Oliver Burton, Jr.

Albert Klyberg

Clifton Moore

William Robinson

Joyce Stevos

George Turville

Michael Van Leesten

Frederick Williamson

Board of Directors
Robert Sanders – Chair

Tomas Avila

Mary Ann Crook

Allen Harris

Wilmar Jennings

Julius Kolawole

Alfred Martin

Don Mays

Allen Waters

Kasim Yarn


Advisory Committee:

Armeather Gibbs

Patrice Jean-Philippe

Keith Stokes


Theresa Guzmán Stokes – Managing Director

“The Rhode Island Black Heritage Society is constituted for the purpose of: Procuring, collecting, and preserving books, pamphlets, letters, manuscripts, prints, photographs, paintings, and any other historical material relating to the history of the Blacks of Rhode Island; encouraging and promoting the study of such history by lectures and otherwise; and publishing and diffusing information as to such history.”

Our founding mission statement has been expanded: it is the preservation of African Diaspora descendant’s historical artifacts – books, art, papers and images, as well as facilitating the interpretation of history to enlighten others about our heritage.

We have continued our commitment to focus on a more inclusive program of exhibits, research and events that will share history and open insights into the future that creative survival has made possible for African descendants – from former slaves to immigrants and to native born descendants.

Beyond educating the public, the society is responsible for advancing the culture and documenting the contributions of the African Heritage Community in Rhode Island.