Welcome, I'm glad your found your way here. Learning about the Bannisters has been a labor of love and I'm happy to share what I have discovered. Please feel free to explore, study and use the material within these pages. My only ask is that you acknowledge the effort that has been put into these pages by crediting the various individuals whose work is represented here.
Congratulations to Class of 2024 Senior Film Major Angel Sweeney! His Documentary Film The Bannister Project is an Official Selection of the Rhode Island Black Film Festival!!! (April 4th - 7th) Angel’s film is anchored in the seldom-told story of Edward and Chistiana Bannister, two remarkable Black residents of late 1800’s Providence.
This annotated bibliography is the result of a collaboration between myself, the Bannister Community Art Project, and Stages of Freedom. What started out as a simple partnership to prepare some teacher resources about the Bannisters and the time period they lived in, ended with, not only teacher resources, but this bibliography. In preparation for assembling some teacher resources, I was curious to see what already existed regarding the Bannisters. My assumption was that there was very little. I was wrong.
While there is not an abundance of primary source material about Edward or Christiana’s early lives, there is a significant amount of material that has been produced about them as artists, entrepreneurs, abolitionists, and activists.
Finally, very little published information about the Bannisters should be considered definitive. There are contradictions, inconsistencies, and myths galore in the literature about the Bannisters. I do maintain a digital library of newspaper articles, academic journals, some books, government records, and miscellaneous materials about the Bannisters. Access to this digital library is provided upon request.
This project was funded in part by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and the Rhode Island Foundation