Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 07-23-2020

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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6 NORTH COUNTY JULY 23-29, 2020 | VALLEY BREEZE & OBSERVER | SMITHFIELD SCITUATE FOSTER GLOCESTER EDITION SMITHFIELD – For Stages of Freedom co-founder Robb Dimmick, "pride of place" is the idea that peo- ple can stand in front of a building or house and recognize its importance to a community and in history. Dimmick's latest project for Stages of Freedom, a nonprofit organization promoting black culture and events, indexes and documents more than 400 locations in Rhode Island of black history and significance. The project, "On the Rhode to Freedom," is an online roadside guide to African American sites in Rhode Island, including homes, busi- nesses and homes occupied by histor- ically significant African Americans. Dimmick said in the current cli- mate with the Black Lives Matter movement, it is essential to know the history of black lives in Rhode Island and America. "We really do feel like now is the time to recognize black lives have always been here, and continue to be here. And here are ways to touch those lives that came before us in a powerful and meaningful way," he said. Three years of research culminated in the project, which Dimmick said is ever-evolving. "On the Rhode to Freedom" lists historically significant locations to African Americans in all 39 Rhode Island municipalities. "Our guide is town by town. You can go to Smithfield, Burrillville, Lincoln, Foster and Glocester and find something tangible," Dimmick said, adding that each site will have a marker, plaque, or structure identify- ing its significance. "The idea is to encourage people to make these discoveries. Do your own research and make further discover- ies," Dimmick said. In Smithfield, Dimmick recognized Elizabeth Buffum Chace, born Dec. 9, 1806, in Smithfield, who was an ardent abolitionist and published "Anti-Slavery Reminiscences" at the age of 85. Dimmick points to the Mountaindale Machine shop near the junction of Reaper's Brook and Stillwater River, which was converted in the 1850s to manufacture "negro cloth," a coarse cloth used for mak- ing clothing for slaves. "The beauty of doing the walking tour online is that I can continually update it," Dimmick said. In Glocester, the Dorr Rebellion led to black men being granted the right to vote in 1842. He pointed to the rebellion, where black and white people worked together to create change, as another feature of the tour. "You start seeing how both black and white come together to great things to bring together the injustice of slavery," he said. Dimmick said the walking tour's significance is to share the African American experience and history in Rhode Island, one that is marred with slavery. In his opinion, black history in Rhode Island is not talked about enough. "I think people are astonished that this tiny state is filled with rich his- tory that is mostly overlooked or for- gotten," Dimmick said. "We live in a society that under- values and dismisses contributions of African Americans. My goal is to show people the very rich, real evidence of contributions to Rhode Island life and culture," Dimmick said. The project is the brain product of a bibliography Dimmick cre- ated, Disappearing Ink, listing more than 900 essays, books and other documents that look into African American life. His next step was to document the physical spaces that sustained and were inhabited by African Americans. He began looking in graveyards and cemeteries where slave owners gave ornate gravestones to slaves, telling stories of piety and honor in a way to "assuage guilt for enslaving them." The guidebook can be found at www.stagesoffreedom.org/on-the- rhode-to-freedom. Walking tour points to locations of historic significance to African Americans By JACQUELYN MOOREHEAD Valley Breeze & Observer Staff Writer jackie@valleybreeze.com DIMMICK A comment attributed to Paul Santucci in last week's story on pro- posed charter amendments, related to internal structures and conform- ing with ordinances, should have been attributed to Charter Review Commission Vice Chairman Tom Winfield. CORRECTION COVID-19 resource available to seniors in need PROVIDENCE – Family Service of Rhode Island, a statewide non- profit human service organization, has launched "Be Safe Plus," a program delivering fresh foods, masks, cleaning and personal care supplies to Rhode Island seniors, people with disabilities, and their caregivers who are at high-risk for COVID-19. FSRI recruited Chubby Chickpea and Hope & Main, located in Warren, and Roch's Fresh Food, of West Greenwich, to put Rhode Islanders back to work by employ- ing them to pack and deliver "Be Safe Plus" boxes. Funding for the program is from the Rhode Island State Office of Healthy Aging. Seniors can access Be Safe Plus by calling 401-462-4444. IN BRIEF SCITUATE – Local playwright Lenny Schwartz spent his time in quarantine writing, directing and editing two movies all captured on film using actors' phones from the comfort of their homes. Schwartz, a Scituate resident, writes plays in his time away from work at Citizens Bank, and also dabbles in movies. When quarantine struck, he said, he continued to "do his thing," creating storylines based on current events. His newest film, "Comic Book Junkies," was created using the same formula based around the COVID-19 pandemic but with a few twists. "When things get rough, I think let's get creative and see what we can do with this," Schwartz said of his time in quarantine. "Comic Book Junkies" is centered around a series of fans and cosplay- ers who are set off balance when the coronavirus hits and causes the San Diego Comic Con 2020 to be canceled. "On top of the coronavirus, the Earth is thrown into a black hole," Schwartz said, adding that he does not want to give too much away. "Now, all these people who Scituate playwright returns with quarantine film By JACQUELYN MOOREHEAD Valley Breeze & Observer Staff Writer jackie@valleybreeze.com Scituate's Lenny Schwartz wrote and directed the film, "COMIC BOOK JUNKIES" while in quarantine. Using current events, Schwartz's movie is about how comic book lovers save the world during the pandemic. SCHWARTZ See FILM, Page 8

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