You can come view our online exhibits in person at the State Archives on at 337 Westminster Street in Providence. We will validate parking at In Town Parking, across the street from our building.
On April 6, 1917, America declared war on Germany. Within two months over 50,000 Rhode Island men had registered to serve in the armed forces. For the first time, women were also given the opportunity to enlist. The Navy and Marine Corps designated women as Yeomen. In the Army, women served in the Nurse and Signal Corps.
The documents in this online exhibition tell two important stories about activism in Rhode Island in the 1850s-1880s. One is the story of the black Americans, from Rhode Island and throughout the Union, who came forward to serve in the 14th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery (Colored). The other is the story of these same Americans’ struggles on the home front – for equal access to education, for the right to marry someone of another race, and for the end of all discrimination “on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude.”