2009-03-19 / Editorial

Two important events tonight in Jamestown

• EDITORIAL •

Tonight at the same time, but at different venues, there are two local happenings that should be of special interest to islanders:

• The Town Council Charter Review Committee will have a public workshop at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall Town Council chambers.

Islanders are welcome to participate in the discussion about the town charter. This is the meeting you should attend if you have ideas about what should be changed, added or deleted from the charter.

The committee will present its findings to the Town Council. Any changes to the town charter must be approved by Jamestown voters.

• The exhibit "Hidden from History: Slavery in Rhode Island from its Inception to Its End" opens at 7 p.m. tonight at the Jamestown Philomenian Library.

This is a landmark presentation, part of a much larger exhibit now on display in Providence, that draws together many historical documents and artifacts about the slave trade in Rhode Island.

The slave trade lasted some 80 years and is nearly a forgotten era in our state's history. It was a time when the slave trade was the state's driving economic force. The slave trade involved ship builders, coopers who made barrels, textile and clothing manufacturers, loggers who felled the trees, bakers, rum distillers and merchants, and, of course, those who invested in the slaving ships.

Making this exhibit ever more compelling is the fact that the last living slave in Rhode Island died in 1859 in Jamestown.

The exhibit will only be at the Jamestown library through this Sunday, March 22, so if you cannot make tonight's opening reception be sure to visit the library in the next three days.

— Jeff McDonough

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