Above a busy thoroughfare in Newport’s North End, there’s a quiet, shady hill. Few of the dog walkers and fewer of the hundreds of motorists that pass each day pay much attention to it. This spot is not neglected or forgotten; in fact it’s well marked and dutifully tended. But even some lifelong Newporters might not know that this hill features one of the country’s most significant monuments to Black History. Historians believe it’s the earliest work of art signed by an African American.
And it’s a tombstone.