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TODAY at 5 p.m.: RI Black Heritage Society to host MLK Day presentation on civil rights leader

Monday, January 17, 2022

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Van Horne. PHOTO: RI Black Heritage Society

the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society announced that he will host a “FREEDOM IS NOT ENOUGH: The Life and Times of Reverend Mahlon Van Horne” presentation to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s National Day.

The virtual presentation is free and will take place on Monday, January 17 at 5 p.m.

About Van Horne


Van Horne was pastor of the Union Colored Congregational Church in Newport and would become the first colored person elected to a Rhode Island school board in 1872 and to the state General Assembly in 1885. As the Reverend Martin Luther King a century later, Van Horne was an influential religious, civil rights, and political leader of his day.

All attendees of the conference, hosted online, will receive a printed copy of his sermon, titled “The Rhode Island Negro: His Past, Present, and Future.” This sermon, delivered to his congregation and later distributed statewide, provides a rare and important insight into Rhode Island’s history of religious liberty, civil liberties, and equal justice from the perspective of African heritage. Many of Van Horne’s ideas are still relevant to today’s civil rights debate.

The Society will also distribute copies of the speech to all K-12 schools and libraries in Rhode Island who would like a copy.

Register for the Zoom conference HERE.

Educators requesting the printed sermon who are not attending the presentation should email [email protected] with the subject “Sermon”.

About the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society

The Rhode Island Black Heritage Society, established in 1975, is one of America’s oldest African heritage and historical organizations. Constituted for the purpose of collecting, preserving, and interpreting materials relating to the history of the African heritage peoples of Rhode Island and beyond.

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