Spirit of Martin Luther King Celebrated at Desmond Fish Library

The Desmond Fish Library in Garrison celebrates the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King with programs on Sunday, Jan. 16, and Monday, Jan. 17. Now in its 15th year, the library’s programs focus not only on Dr. King, himself but on the history of African-Americans and their contributions to the life and culture of the United States. The library website describes this year’s program, Bringing the Dream Home: Civil Rights and the Hudson Valley, as “exploring the life and writings of James F. Brown, an African-American who escaped from slavery in Baltimore 1827 and worked on the

Page from James Brown's diaryVerplanck family estate, Mount Gulian, now a historic site in Beacon. Brown learned to read and write and left a rare and fascinating written record of his life and times before and during the Civil War, now lodged at the New York Historical Society, including a diary covering the years 1829-1866."Myra Young Armstead

Aspects of Brown’s life in the Hudson Valley will be explored in a variety of styles. On Sunday, Myra Young Armstead, Bard College history professor and author of the forthcoming book Freedom’s Gardener: James F. Brown, Horticulture, and the Hudson Valley in Antebellum America (NYU Press), will present a talk titled James F. Brown and the Informal Politics of Association, which draws on Brown’s writings to tell his story in the context of politics and culture of the early 19th century.

In Monday’s kid-friendly program, actor and

Michael Monasterial

dramatist Michael Monasterial will present stories of slavery and African-American life in the Hudson Valley. Monasterial is the founder and artistic director of Passing the Torch Through Hearts, a theater and performing arts organization in Beacon. Musicians Gwen Laster and Art Labriola will join Monasterial and Storyteller Jonathan Kruk will emcee.

The Sunday program begins at 6:30 p.m. with a potluck supper followed by Armstead’s talk at 7 p.m. Monday’s program begins at 1:30 p.m. For additional information visit the Desmond Fish Library website or call 845-424-3020.
Photos courtesy of the Desmond Fish Library.

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