Guided Stroll at Bidwell Trails on Aug. 14

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MONTEREY, Mass. — Bidwell Board Member Richard Greene will lead a one-hour guided stroll of the Bidwell Tails on Aug. 14

The Bidwell property has nearly six miles of trails, running through the woods and along the Loom Brook. Those in attendance will learn about the flora and fauna found on the property. 

Those attending the walk are encouraged to dress accordingly for the uneven terrain. Food and drinks are also encouraged. 

Tour members will be informed 24 to 48 hours in advance If the walk has to be postponed or cancelled due to weather. The tour is free for house members and $10 for others. 

The walk is limited to 20 people and pre-registration on the Museum website is required,

The Bidwell House Museum grounds—196 acres of woods, fields, historic stonewalls, self-guided trails and picnic sites—are open every day, dawn until dusk, free of charge. The house is open for guided tours from Memorial Day to October by appointment only. The program of events can be found on the museum's website:

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W.E.B Du Bois Center to Host Elizabeth Freeman Roundtable

SHEFFIELD, Mass. — The W.E.B. Du Bois Center for Freedom and Democracy of Great Barrington will present a roundtable discussion on the life and legacy of Elizabeth Freeman, the first enslaved African American to successfully sue for her freedom in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The roundtable will take place Friday, Aug. 19, at 4 p.m. at Dewey Hall. A reception will follow the roundtable.

This the first in a series of events honoring Freeman's journey to freedom that will take place in Sheffield from Aug. 19-21. A full schedule of events can be found here.

In recent years, Freeman's life and legacy have been interpreted through exhibits at the Colonel John Ashley House in Sheffield, a stop on the Upper Housatonic Valley African American Heritage Trail, and numerous books and publications. 

Much of her public story was shaped by an 1853 biography written by Catharine Maria Sedgwick, the daughter of Freeman's longtime employer. Nationally, Freeman has been memorialized by a statue at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture; her portrait appeared in The 1619 Project, the New York Times' 2019 exploration of the history and legacy of American slavery.

"But Freeman never told her own story," writes Sari Edelstein in "'Good Mother, Farewell': Elizabeth Freeman's Silence and the Stories of Mumbet, an article published by the New England Quarterly in 2019. "The recent proliferation of children's books on Freeman vividly demonstrates the desire for a celebratory national story, one that can be seamlessly woven into grade school curricula that enshrine the founding ideals and ennoble exceptional individuals.

"And yet, Freeman's story is more complex than such accounts allow, and the instrumentalization of her life narrative raises questions about the stories told in the absence or suppression of archival material and about how narrative serves as one tool among many for the containment of black lives, even those that are celebrated."

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