Industrial Revolution

“Mill Town Minutes” is a companion web series to the upcoming feature length documentary film “Mill Town”, directed and produced by Genevieve Belcher.  The videos below cover several important topics related to the history of Kent County, Rhode Island and life in general during the Industrial Revolution era.  “Mill Town Minutes” addresses subjects such as voting rights in the nineteenth century, the Civil War’s impact on this area, immigration, labor issues, and much more!  The upcoming film can’t possibly contain all the fascinating details from our history, so the videos below cover some topics more in-depth that cannot have as much focus in film.

Slater Mill

Rhode Island is the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution in America.  This would not have been possible without the first successful mill, which started production in 1793: Slater Mill.  Slater Mill helped shaped Kent County’s mills in many ways.


The immigrants that came to work in the mills in Kent County made a great contribution economically, and brought a lot of diversity, new traditions, and new cuisine to the area.  Their struggles and sacrifices helped make the world better for future generations.  May they never be forgotten, as their stories continue to be told.

Voting Rights

Some of us take our voting rights for granted today and we forget how hard our predecessors had to fight to win them.  This video speaks to the working man’s struggle to gain voting rights.

Mill Life

Textile mills and the acceleration of industrialization changed people’s lives in ways they couldn’t have imagined.  Some changes were positive – to both individuals and society as a whole – while others were detrimental.  It leaves us asking: Was it worth it?  And what can we learn from these events?

The Civil War

Probably the most devastating war in our history, no part of America was untouched.  Here we discuss how Kent County was involved in the Civil War and how the Civil War affected Kent County.