Author Archives: Fred Zilian

Earlier Pandemics More Deadly Yet Instructive

(Note: This essay was originally published by the Newport Daily News on March 30, 2020.) The two most lethal pandemics in western history can help us think about the challenges and stakes we currently face with the coronavirus: the Black … Continue reading

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The Emancipation of the Enslaved in Rhode Island, Part II

(Note: This is the eighth essay—second part—in a series on Slavery in Rhode Island. It was originally published by the Newport Daily News on February 26, 2020.) The process of emancipation of the enslaved began on a colony-wide basis with … Continue reading

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The Emancipation of the Enslaved in Rhode Island, Part I

(Note: This is the eighth essay in a series on Slavery in Rhode Island. It was originally published by the Newport Daily News on February 25, 2020.) The enslavement of people of color in the colony of Rhode Island began … Continue reading

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Palmer Raids Attack Anarchists, Communists, but Also Rights

(This essay was originally published by the Newport Daily News on January 31, 2020.) One hundred years ago this month, the second and final set of “Palmer Raids” took place. These government raids, named after Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, … Continue reading

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Young Aware of Danger of Smartphones

(This essay is the second in a series on Technology, Society, and the Human Being. It was originally published on January 18, 2020, in the Newport Daily News.) It is easy for the Baby-Boom Generation to criticize the younger generations … Continue reading

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Metacomet: From Heathen Savage to American Archetype

(This essay was originally published in the Newport Daily News on December 14, 2019.) One hundred and ninety years ago, the play “Metamora; or, the Last of the Wamponoags” opened in New York City. The play written by John Augustus … Continue reading

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Legislating Slavery and Race in Colonial Rhode Island

(This essay was originally published by the Newport Daily News on November 7, 2019.) The first slaves in colonial Rhode Island were Native Americans, prisoners of war from the conflicts with the colonists in southern New England. The first African … Continue reading

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To Kill A Mockingbird, Still Powerful and Popular

(This essay was originally published by the Newport Daily News on October 25, 2019.) Almost 60 years ago, Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, was published and drew immediate and sustained acclaim from both critics and the public. In … Continue reading

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Un-Erasing Rhode Island Slave History

(This essay was originally published in the Newport Daily News on August 24, 2019. A version of it was published the same day as “My Turn: Fred Zilian: Opening Our Eyes to the Enslaved,” in the Providence Journal.) Whether unconsciously … Continue reading

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Woodstock: An Amazing and Unreal Four Days

(Note: This essay was originally published by the Newport Daily News on August 15, 2019.) Fifty years ago in America, the summer of 1969 was punctuated by two major events. In mid-July the Apollo 11 astronauts walked on the moon, … Continue reading

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