Bristol Middle Passage Port Marker Project Inc

aka Bristol Middle Passage   |   Bristol, RI   |

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Bristol Middle Passage Port Marker Project Inc

EIN: 92-3929023


The Bristol Middle Passage Port Marker Project seeks to acknowledge the history and memory of Bristol’s participation in slavery and the Transatlantic Human Trade and its resounding effects on African and Indigenous peoples by erecting a memorial to honor those affected by this history and their contributions to our nation, and to serve as a site for educating people on this history and for hosting reconciliation and healing ceremonies.

Ruling year info



Doctor Bernard Freamon

Vice President

Mattie Edwards-Kemp

Main address

PO Box 871

Bristol, RI 02809 USA

Show more contact info



Subject area info

Public arts

Cultural awareness

Historical activities


Human rights

Population served info

People of African descent

People of European descent

Indigenous peoples

Multiracial people

NTEE code info

Historical Societies and Related Activities (A80)

IRS subsection

501(c)(3) Public Charity

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.

Tax forms

Show Forms 990


Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Our goal is to erect an artistically significant memorial designed and implemented by an individual or group of artists from the state of Rhode Island. To this end, through a jury of five independent jurors and members of the Rhode Island art community, we selected a work of art by a noted sculptor. We plan to install the sculpture at a site on the Bristol waterfront by summer, 2025. Our further goal is to contribute to the racial healing and reconciliation through the recognition of the contributions that captive Native Americans and Africans and their descendants have played in the history of the United States.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Bristol Middle Passage Memorial

Erect a memorial sculpture to commemorate the role of Bristol, Rhode Island, in the international slave trade.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Bristol Middle Passage Port Marker Project, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community organization based in Bristol, RI, working to erect a memorial to acknowledge the history of Bristol’s participation in the Transatlantic Human Trade and this trade’s effects on African and Indigenous peoples. Our memorial will be a place of remembrance, reconciliation, healing and education for our town and its visitors and a prominent acknowledgement of the role of this trade in both our town’s and our nation’s history.

In this project we join many other communities across the Atlantic and Gulf coasts in remembering the role that their communities played in the Transatlantic Human Trade and we are collaborating with the national Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project as well as the Newport Middle Passage Ceremony and Port Marker project. This effort is also included under the UNESCO Routes of Enslaved Peoples Project.

Our project has received the support of the Bristol Town Council which has designated a prominent site in Independence Park on the Bristol waterfront on which our memorial will be erected.

Through fundraising efforts addressing private citizens, corporations and government programs, we will raise funds to create the sculpture and install it in Independence Park, Bristol, RI.

Bristol Middle Passage Port Marker Project is a group of dedicated citizens and descendants of American slave traders working to design a memorial and to raise the funds to create and install it. We have been successful in engaging the Bristol community at every step in this process and have received unanimous support from the Bristol Town Council and funding from numerous generous donors and organizations. We are confident that we will raise the required funds and that we have the skills and professional resources to complete our mission.

The Bristol Middle Passage Port Marker Project started nearly ten years ago as a collaboration among a small group of local citizens who recognized the significance of Bristol’s historic role in the Transatlantic Human Trade and sought some way to acknowledge it. Over the years our organization has grown and developed concrete plans for the completion of this project. We were incorporated in the State of Rhode Island in early 2023 and received our 501(c)(3) determination from the IRS in June of that year.

Our corporation is composed of a board of directors and elected officers operating under the terms of bylaws which were approved by vote of the full board of directors. All directors and officers serve without compensation. Our board includes notable members of our community, scholars, artists, and professionals.

In June, 2022, we presented our proposal to the Bristol Town Council which approved our site on the Bristol waterfront. In January, 2023, we erected a temporary sign at the memorial site proudly declaring our intent to erect the monument. And on February 25, 2023, we held a dedication ceremony at the memorial site which was attended by our State Senator and State Representative, Town Council Members, representatives of the Newport Middle Passage and the Rhode Island Slave History Medallions projects, and many members of the community and our board. Since the designation of our site, the Bristol Town Council has assigned a council member to serve as liaison to our project and we plan to work closely with the town council in completing the project.

In May, 2023, the Bristol Middle Passage Project announced a Call for Artists inviting artists from across Rhode Island to submit proposals for the design of the Middle Passage Memorial. Multiple submissions were received and in September, 2023, we convened a jury of five independent members of the Rhode Island art and performance community to select three finalists. These finalists were asked to submit detailed design proposals and budgets to the Bristol Middle Passage Project board.

In November, 2023, the finalist artists’ proposals were received and in December models of the proposals were placed on display in the Rogers Free Library in Bristol. The public was invited to view and submit comments on the proposals during the month of December 2023 and over 200 overwhelmingly positive comments were received.

On February 4, 2024 the Bristol Middle Passage Port Marker Project publicly announced the selection of the sculpture, “Our Ancestors Come With Us,” by noted Rhode Island artist Spencer Evans, to be the winning design in the design competition.

On February 7, 2024 the Bristol, RI Town Council voted unanimously to support the completion of the final design proposal in the location already designated for this purpose.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To select the best sculpture design for our community

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We act on the feedback we receive, Community meetings and meetings with Town Council

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback


Bristol Middle Passage Port Marker Project Inc


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization


Doctor Bernard Freamon

Professor Freamon is Director of the Race and the Foundations of American Law Program at the Roger Williams University School of Law. A Professor of Law Emeritus at Seton Hall Law School, he has visited on a number of law faculties around the world. He recently taught an innovative course on slavery and human trafficking, based in Zanzibar, Tanzania, and sponsored by the Global Education Program at George Mason University. He is author of the book, Indian Ocean Slavery in the Age of Abolition. He serves as President of Bristol Middle Passage Port Marker Project.

Vice President

Mattie Edwards-Kemp

Director of Diversity, Equity and Justice, Pennfield School, Portsmouth RI. Mattie has been with Pennfield since 1995. She earned undergraduate degrees from the University of Tennessee and Salve Regina University and received a M.Ed. in educational leadership from Rhode Island College. Mattie has served as Pennfield School’s Curriculum Coordinator, Head of Upper School, Assistant Head of School, Associate Head of School, while continuing to teach World Cultures. She has served as an adjunct professor at Salve Regina University and Roger Williams University. She served on the Board of Trustees for the Martin Luther King Community Center for ten years and is currently Vice President of the Bristol Middle Passage Port Marker Project.

There are no officers, directors or key employees recorded for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

Bristol Middle Passage Port Marker Project Inc

Board of directors
as of 06/07/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Bernard Freamon

Mattie Edwards-Kemp

Stephen T. O'Neill

E. Keith Maloney

Peter Dorfman

Stephan Brigidi

Sherri V. Cummings

Ruthann Riley DeLong

Susan Capone Maloney

Ayo Osimboni

Michael Proto

Yulyana Torres

Bernard K. Freamon

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 6/7/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

No data

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 06/05/2024

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.