The Providence City Council is excited to announce this year’s Black History Month celebration! Led by Deputy Majority Leader Mary Kay Harris, the Council has teamed up with the Providence City Archives to create an online exhibit about the life and legacy of Michael S. Van Leesten -“Michael S. Van Leesten: The Bridge Builder”. The exhibit will feature photographs and stories from the decades Van Leesten spent as an activist for racial equity in voter registration, workforce development, and education reform.
The Van Leesten family has generously shared photographs, articles and personal stories to help build this exhibit highlighting his lifelong devotion to the City of Providence and social justice throughout the country.
On Monday, February 15, the City Council will host a virtual panel featuring a discussion on Van Leesten’s life and the pillars of activism that he embodied. Panelists will include family members, community leaders and close friends of Mr. Van Leesten.
Visit the Providence City Council and the Providence City Archives on the web next week to view the online exhibits and look out for social media posts highlighting Van Leesten’s life throughout the month. The Black History page will permanently remain on the Council and Archives web pages and will continue to be updated with new stories of the rich history that people of color have built in the City of Providence.