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Register for a Walking Tour on the History of Slavery and Race

Souls of College Hill: A walking tour of slavery’s haunted legacy

This All Souls Day, join us for a once-in-a-lifetime walk among the dead. As the sky darkens and leaves fall, the souls of some of Providence’s early residents rise for an evening stroll. A slave ship captain, an enslaved mother seeking freedom, an indentured African boy forced to work on a slave ship — these are only a few of the souls you’ll encounter as we traverse the broken stones of this nearly 400-year-old city. At the end of our tale, the night will conclude with a candlelit chorus of voices inside a historic cathedral and a walk among the graves of a colonial cemetery.

Will you be there to catch a glimpse of these 18th-century specters? What will they tell us about their lives and the legacy they left behind? On this ghost tour, you’ll find that nothing is more terrifying than the truth.

Will you join us?

Tickets –

College Hill and the International Slave Trade Walking tour

The United States is once again struggling through a national conversation about race, a discussion made more difficult by how little most of us know about our country’s history of slavery. Rhode Island may be our smallest state but nearly everyone from its wealthiest early citizens to its most recent antebellum immigrants helped the Ocean State become one of the US’s largest contributors to the international slave trade. How? We’ll discuss complicity and resistance from a variety of viewpoints. Step into the roles of sailors, captains, barrel makers, chocolatiers, church bishops, insurance dealers, housewives, Quaker slave owners and Quaker abolitionists, enslaved Ghanaians and indentured Irish. Take a hike through history and discover how College Hill created its wealth and stability and helped lay the foundation for race relations in the state via human trafficking and forced labor.

In 2017, the Center for Reconciliation offered 10 walking tours on the history and legacy of slavery and slave trading in the neighborhood of College Hill. Close to 300 participants joined us from around Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut, along with visitors from as far away as Germany, Ghana and Korea. These walking race dialogues quickly became one of our most popular programs, and we are happy to continue them as a signature initiative.

This walking tour covers more than 300 years of history in 2 hours. We will also cover about one mile of the neighborhood of College Hill. 

Spaces are limited! To register for a tour and for more details, please consult the calendar below and click on a tour of your choosing. If you wish to schedule a group tour for 10 or more participants, please contact Elon Cook Lee at 

About the Tour

Possible Tour Stops

  • John Brown House
  • John Carter Brown Library
  • University Hall
  • Stephen Hopkins House
  • Cathedral of St. John’s Cemetery
  • Cathedral of St. John’s


This walking tour is more like an urban hike. The sidewalks are uneven, we cross a couple of busy streets and there is the occasional road construction. Please make sure you dress comfortably and bring water. Restrooms and limited seating may be available at some stops.


**The tour covers a little over one mile of College Hill and does not start and end in the same place.** We recommend that you either park along Benefit Street between Power and Star, one of the neighboring streets by Benefit, the John Brown House’s parking lot, or the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island’s parking lots.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]