Just a reminder that Stages of Freedom, the state’s only African American Museum and Bookshop, is right downtown on lower Westminster Street by the river. And, as the sign in the window says, “All for a good cause.” That would be the Swim Empowerment program which provides free swim lessons for low-income BIPOC youth. But make no mistake, book-lovers should be checking this place out on a regular basis, particularly since the closing of Cellar Stories. There are some great finds here.
One side of the space is mostly the books area (but also collectibles and ephemera) and it is packed. Inventory is not limited to African American history (a check of their Facebook page shows a sale on German language books). And executive director Ray Rickman has a particular interest in old juveniles with their wonderful cover art (see below). The museum side is devoted to the history of Rhode Island’s African American community, featuring a series of well-designed panels combining text with old photographs of the notable people, places and documents.
Mr Rickman and his Stages co-founder and program director, Robb Dimmock, organize events throughout the year. Coming up on March 25, is Finding Bannister: a Walking Tour of Edward and Christiana Bannisters, Providence’s Black Victorian Power Couple.
Stages of Freedom, 10 Westminster Street, 401.421.0606, (directions)
books, wall art, collectibles & history