James DeWolf Perry has been named executive director of the Center for Reconciliation, the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island’s initiative to locate a slavery museum and inter-racial reconciliation center at the former Cathedral of St. John in Providence.
Perry is a direct descendant of James DeWolf, of Bristol’s DeWolf family, who was the leading slave trader in U.S. history. Perry received an Emmy Award nomination for his role as historical consultant for the PBS documentary film, `Traces of The Trade: A Story From the Deep North’ which documents the family’s role in the slave trade.
Rhode Island was a top slave trading venue, particularly in the ports of Bristol, Newport and Providence. Perry was educated at Columbia Law School and has done graduate work at Harvard University that focused on research on the Atlantic slave trade and abolitionism.
``The Center for Reconciliation envisions a time when people of all races are reconciled to one another. We believe that James is the right person to help us begin the conversations that will bring people together and inspire positive actions,’’ said the Rt. Rev. W. Nicholas Knisely, Rhode Island’s Episcopal Bishop and president of the center’s board of directors.