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Black experience in Rhode Island

Collections containing information on the Black experience in Rhode Island

Please note that not all collections in this subject guide were created by Black individuals or families, however they contain records relating to the Black experience in Rhode Island. 


Andrew J. Bell Jr. audio tapes. MSS-0017. The collection contains audiocassettes, mostly of recorded interviews Bell conducted as research for his book “An Assessment of Life in Rhode Island as an African American In the Era From 1918 to 1993.” The tapes have been digitized and can only be listened to in the Special Collections Reading Room due to donor set restrictions.


Edmonds and Osborne family papers; 1893-2012 (bulk 1904-1964). MSS-0027. The collection contains the collected papers of the Edmonds family, which includes photographs and documents that reflect the day-to-day lives of a family of color in Rhode Island in the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth century.


Irving Jay Fain papers; 1940-1974 (bulk 1959-1970). MSS-0003. Papers relating to Irving Jay Fain’s concern for and activities regarding housing, civil rights, poverty, and nutrition. The collection includes materials about the Rhode Island Fair Housing Law and the National Welfare Rights Organization.


Dr. Carl Russell Gross papers; circa 1843-1928. MSS-0002. Papers created by Providence physician, Dr. Carl Russell Gross, relating to Black history in Rhode Island. The collection includes draft manuscripts he wrote as well as subject files.


Dorothy Hunt and James Williams Urban League records; 1940-1975 (bulk 1941-1959). MSS-0008. Papers documenting some of the programs and activities of the Urban League of Rhode Island, Inc. Correspondence and newspaper articles regarding Black nurses and artists in Rhode Island are included. The collection also includes literature regarding the Poll Tax in the United States.


Nancy Elizabeth Prophet collection; 1920-2022 (bulk 1920-1960). MSS-0028. Collection of Rhode Island born sculptor, Nancy Elizabeth Prophet. The collection includes photographs of Prophet’s sculptures, original sketches and watercolors, and articles on her life in the United States and Paris, France.


Maurice and Vera Vendettuoli papers; 1964-1975 (bulk 1971-1975). MSS-0113. Papers of a couple who opposed desegregated busing and the Providence Desegregation Plan in the 1970s.