The Native and Black communities: ‘We are still here’

Native American and Black communities are still present on Block Island.
But the stories of these communities on the island have rarely been included in the public acknowledgement of the founding and settlement of the island; the majority of the island’s historical context has been told through the perspectives of the settlers of European descent. A virtual talk hosted by the Block Island Historical Society on Sunday, Sept. 20, titled “Recognizing Black and Native Histories on Block Island: Public Memory, Place, and Belonging,” focused on the research into the historical background of Native and Black communities on the island, and the idea that these communities have become “extinct” on the island.
Block Island Historical Society board member Sue Hagedorn introduced the three presenters: Maryann Gobern Mathews, Director of the Manissean Tribal Council, an island Native descendant, and currently living part-time on the island and in East Providence; Amelia Moore, Associate Professor in the Marine Affairs department at URI; and Jessica Frazier, Associate Professor in Marine Affairs, History, and Gender and Women’s Studies at URI.
Public memory of Black and Native communities
Moore opened with her research and documentation to address the public memory and the remains of Black

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