2016 Elinor Williams Hooker Tea Talks Series

Feb 7 – March 13, Discover Portsmouth, 2 – 4 pm

Elinor Williams Hooker Winter Tea Talks: A series of participatory lectures related to New Hampshire’s Black history and African American culture.

These Sunday afternoon “Tea Talks” are participatory lectures related to New Hampshire’s Black history and African American culture, presented by the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail in collaboration with the Seacoast African American Cultural Center, from February 7 through March 13, at Discover Portsmouth, 10 Middle St., Portsmouth, NH

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February 7

Slavery & the Underground Railroad in New Hampshire
Presenter: Michelle Arnosky Sherburne
New Hampshire was once a hotbed of abolitionist activity. But the state had its struggles with slavery, with Portsmouth serving as a slave-trade hub for New England. Abolitionists such as William Lloyd Garrison, Nathaniel Peabody Rogers and Stephen Symonds Foster helped create a statewide antislavery movement. Abolitionists and freed slaves assisted in transporting escapees to freedom via the Underground Railroad.

Join author Michelle Arnosky Sherburne as she shares her work on slavery, the Underground Railroad and the abolitionist movement in New Hampshire.
Book signing to follow discussion.


Black Church

February 14

Church, Faith and the New Hampshire Community: A Black Woman’s Perspective
Featuring: Rev. Lillian Buckley, Rev. Lauren Smith, Minister Olga Tines, Mrs. Florine Hilson and
Mrs. Nadine Thompson
The black church has historically been seen as the backbone of the black community and the center of political and social life for African Americans. This panel discussion featuring prominent church leaders will discuss the role of the church in their lives. Through their experiences in ministering and serving in a predominantly white state we will learn about the role of faith as a strong guiding force in their lives. What they give and receive from their spiritual communities and why church life continues to be so important to so many black women will be highlighted.


African Burying Ground, Portsmouth NH

February 21

Black Heritage Tourism and Community
Presenter: Dr. Stephanie E. Freeman
Until recent time, African-American history and culture was considered a blight on what many believed was the pristine record of America’s growth and prosperity. However, no doubt fueled by to the presence of an African American family in the White House, there is a growing desire to learn more of the Black stories that had all but disappeared from our collective consciousness. The historic and cultural resources associated with people, events, or aspects of a community’s past give that community its sense of identity and help tell its story. These resources are the most tangible reflections of a community’s heritage.
This presentation will look at how the recognition of an area’s historic resources, such as the African Burying Ground in Portsmouth, can bring about neighborhood revitalization, increased and sustainable tourism, economic development and citizenship building.


Chi Raq

February 28

“Chi-Raq” and Black Movement: A Film Discussion
Panelists: Joe Onosko (UNH), Delia Konzett (UNH), Shay Stewart-Bouley (Black Girl in Maine) and
Alexander Loughran-Lamothe (Black Lives Matter)
Chi-Raq, a satirical musical drama by Spike Lee , will serve as the back drop for a dialogue on current social justice issues and movements in our region. Lee’s film touches on the gang violence prevalent in some neighborhoods on the south side of Chicago. The film is based on Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, a Classical Greek comedy play in which various women withhold physical affection from their husbands as punishment for fighting in war.

“Chi-Raq is as urgently topical and satisfyingly ambitious as it is wildly uneven – and it contains some of Spike Lee’s smartest, sharpest, and all-around entertaining late-period work.” Rotten Tomatoes

“Blunt, didactic and stronger on conceptual audacity than dramatic coherence, this is still the most vital, lived-in work in some time from a filmmaker who has never shied away from speaking his mind or irritating his ideological foes, as he seems destined to do again with this attention-grabbing feature.”


Our Own Country

March 6

NOTE: This Tea Talk takes place at Portsmouth Public Library
Writing Black and White: The perils and pleasures of writing multi-cultural historical fiction
Presenter: Jodi Daynard
If you could time-travel to Portsmouth during the Revolutionary War, what would it look like? How did blacks and whites relate to one another in their daily lives? Come hear about OUR OWN COUNTY, the story of one young woman who dared to cross the racial divide. Hear too, about the challenges author Jodi Daynard faced while endeavoring to create authentic portraits of both slavery and of interracial love.

Jodi Daynard is the internationally known author of The midwife’s Revolt and The Place Within.
Book signing to follow discussion.


ColorMeCover72

March 13

Color Me Included: African Americans of Hampton’s First Church and Its Descendant Parishes 1670 – 1826
Presenter: Rev. Deborah Knowlton
This first work by author, Deborah Knowlton is meant to bring to life the African American members of the First Congregational Church of Hampton who were both enslaved and free. Using the early record books kept by the first twelve pastors, she offers details concerning their faith lives as members of the congregation, on the families who owned them, their service in the Revolutionary war, and their journeys outward to neighboring communities as descendant parishes were established.

The work reveals the complicated connections between race relations and religion in early New England and invites comparisons with matters of race and religion in today’s culture.
Book signing to follow discussion.

All 2016 Tea Talks are sponsored by:

TD Bank
Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail
Seacoast African American Culture Center
Portsmouth Historical Society
and Discover Portsmouth

Presenters Bios

Michelle Arnosky Sherburne lives with her husband and son in Newbury, Vermont. She is a Vermont historian and has spent years researching the Underground Railroad and the Civil War, lecturing at schools and local organizations. Michelle co-authored A Vermont Hill Town in the Civil War: Peacham’s Story and is a freelance writer for newspapers and magazines. She works at a weekly newspaper when not on history quests.

Rev. Dr. Lillian J. Buckley was born in the Kittery, Maine and raised in the Black Church. She was a member of Faith Mission Church of God in Christ on Deer Street until late 1960s and the People’s Baptist Church on the corner of Pearl and Hanover Street. She has served as Interim Pastor for Newton Baptist Church, Newton, NH; Middle Street Baptist Church, Portsmouth, NH; and as Pastor for Bow Lake Freewill Baptist Church. Rev. Buckley retired as Postmaster of York Harbor, ME in February 2014, and currently serves as Adjunct Professor in Philosophy at Great Bay Community College in Portsmouth, NH.

Minister Florine Hilson was born in Kingstree, South Carolina before moving to New Haven, Connecticut where she was an active member of Corinth Temple U.F.W.B. Church. Hilson received an Associates Degree in Fashion Design from Chamberlayne Junior College in Boston, Massachusetts; and her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. While living in Amherst, Massachusetts she met and married her husband, Rev. Author Hilson. She accepted the call to the ministry in July 2004.

Rev. Lauren Smith is the Co-Minister for South Church in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. She grew up in Northern California, but has strong ties to New England and Unitarian Universalism that extend back many generations. Her family first settled in Massachusetts before the end of the Civil War. Her forbears were free African-American people living in North Carolina in the 1850’s. In addition to being a Unitarian Universalist minister, Lauren is also a student of Zen Buddhism in the Kwan Um School (www.kwanumzen.org). Lauren studied theater arts as an undergraduate at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and attended seminary at Starr King School for the Ministry.

Nadine Thompson, wife of Rev. Robert Thompson, is today writing her own chapter of business history. Thompson is CEO and Founder of Nadine Thompson Enterprises and Soul Purpose Lifestyle Company – an innovative direct selling company that was launched in January, 2008. Born in Trinidad, and raised in Toronto, Canada, Thompson received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Smith College. She went on to become Dean of Multicultural Affairs at Phillips Exeter Academy where she shared her rare combination of insight, cosmopolitan warmth and her gift for bringing people together.

Joe Onosco is an Associate Professor of Education at the University of New Hampshire. His field of research is middle and secondary social studies education, curriculum theory and design, and approaches to school reform.

Delia Konzett is a Professor of English and Cinema/American/Women’s Studies at UNH. She is the author of Ethnic Modernisms and is currently working on WWII Film and Orientalism.

Black Girl in Maine Blogger Shay Stewart-Bouley is a Chicago-born, Chicago-raised chick who was forcibly relocated to Maine in 2002. (How else does a Black woman from Chicago end up in Maine?) She is a graduate of both DePaul University and Antioch University New England. Shay is the Executive Director of Community Change Inc., a 47 year old civil rights organization in Boston, MA that has been educating and organizing for racial equality since 1968. In 2003, she decided to test the waters of a childhood dream of writing and started writing periodically for publications such as the Portland Press Herald and the Journal Tribune, later that year she landed her own column in the Portland Phoenix, “Diverse-City,” which for over a decade she shared insight and commentary monthly on a variety of diversity issues ranging from race to class, gender relations to sexual orientation, and workplace issues to lifestyle choices. In 2011, she won a New England Press Association Award for her work writing on diversity issues.

Alexander Loughran-Lamothe is a UNH alum who majored in International Affairs and Family Studies. He has worked on every aspect of building a safer, more welcoming campus. As a Safe Zones Facilitator and a Resident Assistant, Alex has done impressive awareness-building programs focused on inclusion of GLBTQ people. Alex moved to Boston, where he completed a term of service with City Year at the Jeremiah E. Burke High School and a year of AmeriCorps VISTA service in homelessness advocacy. He currently works for the youth development and community development nonprofit, Hyde Square Task Force. Alex has taken leadership roles in the Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) chapter in Boston, which seeks to organize for the dismantling of institutional and cultural white supremacy in predominantly white spaces, working towards black liberation and racial justice.

Jodi Daynard is the author of the bestselling novel The Midwife’s Revolt. Her new novel, Our Own Country, is the second of a trilogy, the third of which will be published in 2017. She is also the author of The Place Within: Portraits of the American Landscape by 20 Contemporary Writers. Ms. Daynard’s short stories and essays have appeared in numerous periodicals, including The New York Times Book Review, The Village Voice, The Paris Review, Agni, and New England Review. She has taught writing at Harvard University, M.I.T., and in the MFA program at Emerson College, and served for seven years as Fiction Editor at Boston Review.

Rev. Deborah Knowlton serves as the pastor for the First Congregational Church in Hampton, New Hampshire. She grew up on a farm just outside Hampton and, yes, she knows how to drive a tractor and milk a cow! She can sometimes be found wearing her jeans and working in her vegetable garden. After her undergraduate studies at UNH, she earned her M.Div. degree from Andover Newton Theological School. Rev. Deb has a wonderful way with words and a very special gift of making everyone feel completely welcome to worship anytime.