The Neighborhoods of the North Burial Ground: A Place for Everyone

Sat, May 4; 10am-11:30am 

The far pedestrian entrance to the NBG, at the marble steps at the corner of North Main and Cemetery Streets, Providence

Same as Meeting Point


The North Burial Ground (NBG) is one of the largest land holdings in the city of Providence. It is Providence’s oldest public cemetery and serves as the final resting place for more than 100,000 of our ancestors. It also houses over three centuries of artistic headstones, memorials, and tombs that provide a rich history of Providence and its inhabitants. On this walk we’ll look at the origins of the NBG in 1700, its growth, and its inclusivity. We will take a page from one of the NBG’s residents, Sam Walter Foss, a Brown graduate and poet, who wrote a famous poem with the line: “I want to live in a house by the side of the road, where the race of men go by.” We’ll talk about some of those men and women who have gone by–from slaves to slave traders, from a Chinese pauper to a 19th century Narragansett woman entrepreneur. We’ll also explore the beautiful grounds and look at some of the newly placed signage in the cemetery. If you’re a regular or occasional visitor to the NBG what brings you here? What kinds of activities should/could take place here? What’s your vision of the NBG in the future?

NOTE: This walk will be held rain or shine!

WALK LEADER: Dr. Erik Christiansen and Dr. Fran Leazes

Fran Leazes is a Professor in the Political Science department at Rhode Island College and the founder and Director of the North Burial Ground Project. He is co-author of Providence: The Renaissance City and is producing a film about the NBG.
Erik Christiansen is an Associate Professor in the History department at Rhode Island College. As a teacher, researcher, and writer, he has been actively working in the NBG for the past eight years, and as a neighbor he often uses the cemetery for recreation.,