The Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology has developed a new outreach program aimed at teaching middle school students about Rhode Island’s African history. Titled “Sankofa: African Americans in Rhode Island,” the program focuses on the many cultures of West Africa whose people were brought to Rhode Island by the transatlantic slave trade. The program also explores the role of slavery around the world, the experiences of enslaved Africans in Rhode Island, the roles of Rhode Islanders in ending slavery, and the contributions African Americans have made and continue to make in American society. Teachers interested in integrating the program into their curriculum will have access to free online materials as well as the opportunity to have the Haffenreffer Museum bring artifacts into the classroom. The program’s development was funded by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and inspired by the Report of the University’s Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice. Sankofa is one of six “Culture Caravan” programs organized by the Haffenreffer that bring hands-on materials and projects to classrooms, camps, libraries, and after-school programs so that students can examine museum objects and natural materials with images and discussions topics tailored to the age group.

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