Lyra Monteiro, Assistant Instructor for the Department of History, publishes a new book: A Thousand Ships: A Ritual of Remembrance Marking the Bicentennial of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

I would like to share with you the news of our recent publication, Thousand Ships: A Ritual of Remembrance Marking the Bicentennial of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade (  This book presents images, documentation, and reflections from participants and spectators from a major public commemoration of Rhode Island’s involvement with slavery and the slave trade. The event took place on October 4, 2008, at WaterFire, an art installation that lights bonfires on the rivers in downtown Providence, Rhode Island—the same rivers on which ships engaged in the slave trade, more than two centuries earlier. A Thousand Ships was created by The Museum On Site and Barnaby Evans, who collaborated with academic historians, local nonprofits, and a range of professional performers to engage an audience of approximately 30,000 with a unique event that combined humanities scholarship, artistic performance, and participatory public ritual.

In addition to photography by award-winning photographers Stephan Brigidi and Gordon Stillman, A Thousand Ships features images of the historical documents from the John Carter Brown Library that were used in the event. The Foreword is by James T. Campbell, Edgar E. Robinson Professor of United States History at Stanford University, and chair of Brown University’s Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice; Epilogue by Barnaby Evans, creator of WaterFire; and an essay on the methodology of A Thousand Ships by Lyra Monteiro, Co-Director of The Museum On Site. The creation of this book was paid for in part by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities.

A Thousand Ships is available for download as a free PDF at, where there is also a full digital preview of the book, and a link to purchase a hardcopy of the book ($49, 136 color pages). Thanks to a grant from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, copies of the book have been donated to public, academic, and school libraries in the state of Rhode Island.

Dr. Lyra D. Monteiro
Co-Director, The Museum On Site