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Hudson Valley Press

May 30th, 2012

Hull to present African American History tour

State Rep. Ray Hull Presents African American History Walking Tour of College Hill
Providence, RI - Rhode Island State Representative Raymond A. Hull will host an African American History Walking Tour of Providence’s College Hill on Saturday June 2nd at 10:00 a.m. Proceeds will benefit The Rhode Island Black Heritage Society (RIBHS).

Well-known community leader Ray Rickman, whose popular College Hill walking tours have made him the neighborhood’s unofficial historian and conservator, will lead the event and offer his personal perspective on the people, places and events of Providence’s oldest neighborhood.

“Ray’s walking tours are participatory and engaging,” said Rep. Hull. “College Hill is full of Providence history and Ray Rickman knows it all.”

Rickman, who for his part claimed modestly, “I know a lot but nobody knows it all,” has lived on College Hill for over 30 years.

“Interest in and concern for historic preservation and, more specifically, walking tours like this one are ways for us to interact and better ourselves,” Rickman said. Pressed for an elaboration he added, “The College Hill neighborhood is essentially a museum and when we take some time, slow down for an hour or two and really consider it, I think that’s when genuine learning can occur.”

The Rhode Island Black Heritage Society recently unveiled a permanent historic marker, to be visited on the tour, honoring opera singer Sissieretta Jones (1868-1933) who lived in Rhode Island for 57 years of her life. Once the most famous and highest paid African American performer in the world, Jones lived at 7 Wheaton Street, mere steps from the marker’s location.

“Ray’s tours are like spending time with a top-notch university professor,” Rep. Hull said and then added with a smile, “but without the classroom or the high tuition.”
Rickman concluded, “in a perfect world, the tour guide learns as much from the guests as the guests learn from the tour guide.”

This June 2nd African American History Walking Tour of College Hill departs from the entrance to the RISD auditorium, on the Providence River between College Street and Waterman. Proceeds will benefit The Rhode Island Black Heritage Society. Participants are asked to wear comfortable shoes.

To RSVP, please contact Michael Beauregard: or (401) 421-0606.
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