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Town and Village

Towns to fight racism with film

JAMAICA—The Windham County town of Jamaica and village of West Townshend are neighbors on the map — and, increasingly, in the fight against racism.

The Jamaica Community Arts Council held a “Reading Frederick Douglass” program last summer that drew 50 people. West Townshend’s Community Project, for its part, reports equally strong attendance at its annual winter Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance.

This January the two communities came together to co-sponsor a King event. And this Sunday, June 10, they’ll join again for a screening of a new film about former slave and abolitionist activist Josiah Henson.

“When we heard about this documentary,” West Townshend resident Jay Warren says, “it sounded like an opportunity for the community to keep the conversation going.”

Henson was the inspiration for Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 abolitionist novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” The documentary details his harrowing journey from slavery in the South to fleeing to freedom in Canada, where he purchased land to build what became one of the final stops on the Underground Railroad.

The free screening is set for Sunday, June 10, at 11:30 a.m., at Jamaica Town Hall, with a potluck lunch to follow.

“We hope to raise consciousness about racism,” Warren says, “how it impacts us and how we can combat it.”

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Originally published in The Commons issue #462 (Wednesday, June 6, 2018). This story appeared on page A4.

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