The Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame was founded in March 1965 to honor the contributions of those whose efforts, in any line of endeavor, have added significantly to the heritage of the State of Rhode Island. Eligible membership may include those who are native born, those whose reputations have been made while residents of the state, and those who have adopted Rhode Island as their permanent home.
The Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame is a partner organization of the Heritage Harbor Museum. Upon the Museum's opening in 2013, inductees' portraits will become part of a permanent Hall of Fame exhibit honoring their accomplishments.
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George T. Downing, abolitionist, businessman, and civil rights advocate, was born in New York City on December 30, 1819 into a prominent, well-to-do African-American family. His father Thomas Downing was a restauranteur, whose Oyster House was a gathering place for New York's aristocracy and politicians. Under his father's guidance, young George participated in the Underground Railroad and lobbied to gain equal suffrage for blacks. more >
More Inductees from 2003>
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