Day of history and food to be presented at the Athens Brick Meeting House

ATHENS — On Sunday, September 16, 2012, the Athens Historic Preservation Society (AHPS) will host an afternoon of history and food.

Starting at 2 p.m at the Athens Brick Meeting House, learn more about black history in the state of Vermont and locally through the story of the Turner Family as told through the voice of Jessie Daisy Turner.

Eric Gilbertson of the Vermont Preservation Trust will be sharing insights on the early history of African-Americans in Vermont, and Naima K. Wade, performance artist and educator, will bring to life parts of the Daisy Turner story.

Daisy Turner was the daughter of Alexander Turner, a former slave who settled and developed a farmstead in Grafton. Daisy became known nationally as an oral historian, sharing the stories she heard from her father about his life as a slave and his journey to Grafton, where he created a successful hill farm and raised a large family.

Following this presentation, we invite both history enthusiasts and the general public to join us for an old-fashioned pig roast on the Meeting House lawn, beginning at 4 p.m., with typical outdoor games and activities.

This event is sponsored by the AHPS as part of an effort to raise awareness and community support for efforts to preserve and restore this gem of a historic building. The Meetinghouse is historically significant to this region, particularly for the 13 towns which formed a group for religious purposes including Athens, Grafton, Rockingham, Townshend, Londonderry, Weston, Chester, Acton, Springfield, Landgrove, Windham, Putney and Mt. Holly.

These towns comprised the “Old Athens Circuit,” through which circuit preachers traveled to perform religious services. Quarterly meetings of members from all of these towns often lasted two days. For years after regular religious services ceased at the Meetinghouse, the Meetinghouse was maintained by funds raised at summer events for speeches by various politicians and other notables.

The Brick Meeting House will be open for tours after the history presentation. For more information about the day's event or the AHPS, call Beth Ann at 802-365-7740.

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