2006-04-20 / Upcoming Events

Liberty tree featured in Arbor Day event

Celebrate Arbor Day, April 28, with the Newport Historical Society by hearing the fascinating story of one of Newport's most legendary trees, the "Liberty Tree," during a lecture by doctoral candidate Edward Andrews, followed by a 15-minute walking tour of the Upper Thames Street neighborhood where the Liberty Tree still stands today.

The program begins at 11 a.m. in front of the Newport Colony House at the top of Washington Square.

Since the 18th century, the Liberty Tree has stood at the intersection of Thames and Farewell streets. Three times the tree in that spot has been replaced, but the symbolic importance of the Liberty Tree has remained strong. During the Revolutionary War-era, Newport's Patriots used the first Liberty Tree as a symbol of resistance to British tyranny, oppression, and "enslavement." Ironically, Newport's African community, most of them slaves, had been using the same tree as a ceremonial space for years before it became a symbol of the American Revolution. This talk will explain how one tree became a site of cultural and political conflict in the 18th century and show how Africans and AngloAmericans gave both similar and different meanings to something as simple as a tree at a fork in the road.

Admission to the program is $5, or free to members of the Newport Historical Society.

For more information, call the historical society at 846-0813.

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