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President’s Distinguished Lecture – Ambassador Andrew Young

Inauguration Week 2011 Event.

Presentation with Ambassador and Activist Andrew Young will highlight Inauguration Week 2011 events; reception with Ambassador Young to immediately follow.

About Ambassador and Activist Andrew Young

For a university that prides itself on creating a healthy exchange of ideas on the most pressing questions facing society and seeks to instill in its graduates a drive to serve the broader public interest, the chance to host Andrew Young as an honored guest and participant during Inauguration Week 2011 is opportune.

President's Distinguished Speakers Series: Spoken Word Artist Lemon Andersen

"Can any of us really escape the past?"

This is the question Lemon Andersen asks the audience to consider in his powerful presentation, "Lemon: Breaking in the Door to Have Your Voice Heard."

Lemon Andersen is a performance artist, playwright, brand architect and Tony Award-winning poet who first garnered national attention in 2002, when he appeared in Russell Simmons's "Def Poetry Jam" on Broadway. The show won a Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event and earned Andersen a Drama Desk nomination for his writing. He later appeared in eight episodes of "Def Poetry" on HBO.

Anderson has spent the last decade performing across the country, inspiring his audience to find their voice and let it be heard. He has appeared in four Spike Lee films, including Inside Man opposite Denzel Washington and The Soloist with Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx, and he was the subject of the documentary Lemon, about his journey from three-time felon to bold-faced name -- and how leaving one's past behind just isn't that simple.

Freedom Journey 1965: Exhibition Finale and Armchair Discussion

Freedom Journey 1965: Photographs of the Selma-to-Montgomery March by Stephen Somerstein

Exhibition Finale and Armchair Discussion


Providence Journal Columnist Edward Fitzpatrick

NAACP Providence President James Vincent

In celebration of Black History Month, RWU is presenting a conversation on the Civil Rights movement, the establishment of the NAACP, and 21st-century issues of race, social justice and human rights. This discussion takes place in conjunction with the historic Freedom Journey photographs in adjacent galleries.

Sponsored by Bank of America

Providence Public Library, Auditorium, Third Floor
150 Empire Street, Providence, R.I.

Kindly RSVP by Friday, February 19:
Melanie Stone at (401) 254-3322 or

Screening of "Selma" at Freedom Journey Exhibit

One day before Martin Luther King Jr. day, screening of "Selma" will be presented at Providence Public Library as part of RWU/PPL Freedom Journey exhibit. Free and Open to the Public.

Providence Public Library
150 Empire Street, Providence, RI
Auditorium - Level 3

A chronicle of Martin Luther King’s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965.

Selma is the story of a movement. The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement.

Director Ava DuVernay’s SELMA tells the story of how the revered leader and visionary Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his brothers and sisters in the movement prompted change that forever altered history.

PG 13; 128 Minutes

Race in America, Then and Now: Reflections on the Impact of the Selma-to-Montgomery March

December 10, 2015

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Through the lens of an extraordinary exhibition documenting the historic Selma-to-Montgomery civil rights march in Alabama in 1965, the photographer and a fellow march participant joined a longtime social justice activist on Wednesday evening for a wide-ranging conversation on the history of the fight for equal voting rights, the impact of the continued lack of diversity in present-day positions of authority, and much more.

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Photographer’s Reflections on Dec. 9 to Highlight Freedom Journey 1965 Exhibit

December 2, 2015

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – An extraordinary exhibition of photographs documenting the historic Selma-to-Montgomery civil rights march in Alabama in 1965 launched its national tour in Rhode Island in November – and next week, local community members will get the chance to hear directly from the photographer.

Roger Williams University and Providence Public Library have collaborated to bring Freedom Journey 1965: Photographs of the Selma-to-Montgomery March to the Library for public exhibition through February 28. The striking images included in the New-York Historical Society exhibition were captured by Stephen Somerstein, a college student in 1965 who traveled to Alabama to document the march.

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Our Racial Moment of Truth: Pulitzer Prize Winner Isabel Wilkerson to Visit RWU on Dec. 3

November 30, 2015

BRISTOL, R.I. – With the high-profile killings of unarmed African-Americans at the hands of police and civilians, protests are mounting and debates intensifying. These events have left many people asking just how far the nation has really come since the days of Jim Crow – and the need for dialogue has never been more acute.

On Thursday, Dec. 3, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author Isabel Wilkerson – a leading voice in the national conversation about race and equality – will address these issues and more as part of the President’s Distinguished Speakers Series at Roger Williams University. Members of the campus community and the public are invited to spend an evening with Wilkerson for a presentation titled “Our Racial Moment of Truth,” in which she will examine the persistence of racial injustice as a national challenge and how history can inform our work to resolve it.

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Editor's Cut: Blue Eyes-Brown Eyes with Jane Elliott

January 6, 2016

BRISTOL, R.I. -- On April 5, 1968 – one day after the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. – a 35-year-old third grade teacher in Riceville, Iowa, divided her students into groups based on their eye color. An exercise in how we treat others based on their physical traits quickly became a controversial example of the insidiousness of racism in America. Jane Elliott became an international sensation, catapulted into a career as an anti-racism activist and diversity trainer after an appearance on The Tonight Show and the PBS documentary A Class Divided. At 81, Elliott still administers the Blue Eyes-Brown Eyes exercise to children and adults around the world, and unapologetically takes to task anyone who perpetuates racism and discrimination. 

Here is an extended cut of Elliott's interview during a recent visit to Roger Williams, where she discussed her groundbreaking anti-racism advocacy, voting rights and women's reproductive rights in her hallmark take-no-prisoners fashion.

Why do you think your experiment took off the way it did in 1968?

Freedom Journey 1965: A Photographic Journey into Civil Rights History

November 6, 2015

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Featuring a series of striking images captured inside the heart of the action during the harrowing Selma to Montgomery civil rights march in Alabama in 1965, an extraordinary exhibition of photographs documenting the pivotal demonstration for freedom will launch its national tour in Rhode Island.

Roger Williams University and the Providence Public Library have partnered to bring Freedom Journey 1965: Photographs of the Selma to Montgomery March to the library for public exhibition beginning on Thursday, Nov. 12. The historic and riveting photographs included in the New-York Historical Society exhibition were captured by Stephen Somerstein, a City College of New York student in 1965 who traveled to Alabama to document the march.

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Oct. 28 Discussion to Reflect on Infamous ‘Middle Passage’ and Rhode Island Role in Slave Trade

October 20, 2015

BRISTOL, R.I. – During the trans-Atlantic voyage that for centuries forcibly transported Africans overseas to the New World to be sold as slaves, more than 2 million Africans perished in the journey’s infamous Middle Passage. Conditions were so deplorable that historian John Henrik Clarke has said, “If the Atlantic were to dry up, it would reveal a scattered pathway of human bones, African bones, marking the various routes of the Middle Passage.”

On Wednesday, Oct. 28, members of the Roger Williams University community and the general public are invited to join Ann Chinn, founder and executive director of the Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project, and Emily Kugler of the project’s Boston’s chapter to learn about their mission to honor those who died during the Middle Passage.

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