‘Promise of Freedom’ continues into Black History Month

Museum open today


Storyteller Jeanette Harris shares experiences of a slave during a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. (John Kovach photo)

Black History Month, Lincoln’s Birthday and Presidents Day all offer an opportunity to renew focus on the Fairfield Museum & History Center’s exhibit, “Promise of Freedom: The Emancipation Proclamation,” before the display closes Sunday, Feb. 24.

“Promise of Freedom,” commemorating the 150th anniversary of the official signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, features rare Lincoln-signed copies of the proclamation and the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which abolished slavery. The exhibition also includes a range of civil rights images and related artifacts on loan from area collectors.

The museum is also continuing to offer $2 off of admission fees for the duration of the exhibition to any visitors bringing ticket stubs from “Lincoln,” the movie, which organizers said has generated a significant increase in attendance for “The Promise of Freedom” exhibition.

Master storyteller Lot Therrio will discuss “The Underground Railroad… and Beyond” on Friday, Feb. 15, at 2:30 p.m. Admission is free; the program is for families with children ages 7 and older.

Ben Hawley will share “The History of the 29th Connecticut Colored Regiment” on Sunday, Feb. 17, at 2:30 p.m. Hawley is a Connecticut native and member of the Descendants of the 29th Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Infantry (Colored). His great-great-grandfather, Orrin B. Hawley, was a member of the 29th. Ben is also a member of B Company, 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment based in Washington, D.C. He was one of 20 Civil War reenactors invited to march in the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Parade.

He will discuss on the creation of the 29th Connecticut, and how Gov. William Buckingham stood up against those within the state who opposed a black regiment, as well as Frederick Douglass’ support of it. Learn how the 29th Connecticut was formed, the appointment of only white officers and the men’s parade march from the New Haven Green to the waterfront, where they boarded the ship Warrior to travel south.

The program, for families and children ages 9 and older, is free with admission.

Those who visit the Fairfield Museum on Monday, Feb. 18, may share “Tea with Abraham and Mary” at 2:30 p.m. The Lincolns will sit together for a conversation, and answer questions from families and children 9 and older.

Portraying Abraham Lincoln is Lewis Dube, who studied at Yale’s Drama School and has brought the 16th president to life for thousands of fans. He has appeared at venues across the country, including The LBJ, The George Bush and Eisenhower presidential libraries, and has also appeared on ABC, CBS, History Channel, Fox and CPTV.

Carol Deloppo portrays Mary Lincoln. She has been a Civil War re-enactor for more than 20 years and plays several different women from the period.

The Fairfield Museum and History Center is located at 370 Beach Road. Information is available at fairfieldhistory.org or 203-259-1598.

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