Civil and equal rights Renaissance man, Alfred Niger of Providence would represent Rhode Island in the first “American Society of Free Persons of Colour Convention” in Philadelphia in 1830. The Convention assembled free and emancipated African heritage Americans to promote educational, labor, and legal justice during the years before the Civil War and when Black rights were constricted nationally and locally. Niger was a leader before and after the Rhode Island Dorr Rebellion to champion the reinstatement of Black voting rights in 1842. He was also a Rhode Island delegate to the American Anti-slavery Society and officer of the Hiram Lodge No.3 which was chartered in Providence in 1797, the second African heritage Lodge of Freemasonry in America. A Barber by trade, Niger and his family lived in Providence’s sixth ward for most of his life.
(Image courtesy of the Rhode Island Historical Society)
This is part of an ongoing series by Keith W. Stokes, Lead Researcher for the NPS Grant - Civil Rights in 20th Century Rhode Island.