The Robbins House @ Concord Festival of Authors – Anti-Racism and Reconstruction, Then and Now

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Friday, October 16, 2020
Concord Festival of Authors – A History of Slavery in New England
Friday, October 16, 2020

The Robbins House @ Concord Festival of Authors – Anti-Racism and Reconstruction, Then and Now

Zoom Panel & Discussion •

Register here
Robbins House board members, interpreters, and advisors speak on the topics our visitors ask about most: what was racism like then and now, why patriots of color served for a government that enslaved them, what was reconstruction about, and how did Concord inspire Ellen Garrison to become a civil rights activist? These and other visitors’ questions launched The Robbins House series of pamphlets that briefly explain Concord’s Black history from the perspective of Robbins House residents, and are supported by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The conversation will explore how throughout American history, people of African descent have demanded the right to define their racial identity through terms that reflect their proud and complex history.

Moderators: Maria Madison & Robert Munro, Robbins House Co-Presidents


Presenters and Topics:

David Lincoln, Reconstruction
David is a part-time history lecturer at Norwalk Community College and Sacred Heart University, where he also serves as a tutor. He is an interpreter at the Robbins House, lead guide at Historic New England’s Eustis Estate, and was a docent at The Old Manse from 2011 to 2017. For eight years, David has been a writer and editor for Cognella Publishing.






Joanne Pope Melish, The History of Race and Racism
Dr. Pope Melish is associate professor of history emerita at the University of Kentucky, where she taught American and African American history. Her research focuses on slavery, emancipation, and the development of racial ideologies from the colonial period through Reconstruction, especially in the northern colonies and states. She is the author of Disowning Slavery: Gradual
Emancipation and “Race” in New England, 1780-1860 (1998) and is currently working on a book provisionally entitled “Making Black Communities” that investigates how and why mixed-race neighborhoods of the laboring poor in northern cities began to be characterized as “Black” and targeted by hostile White mobs in the early nineteenth century.






Nikki Turpin, The Life and Legacy of Ellen Garrison Jackson Clark
Nikki is the new Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall School in Waltham. She is also a leader at Youth in Philanthropy (YIP), a leadership development program designed to empower and educate local youth to become our community’s next generation of philanthropists – those who give their time, talent, and treasure for the common good. Nikki
has served as program director and board member for The Robbins House since 2017, and as a presenter at the Association of African American Museums.






Joe Zellner, Patriots of Color: What Were They Fighting For?
A retired social studies teacher, Joe developed and taught an African American history program at Concord-Carlisle High School. He is a Civil War character re-enactor with the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Re-enactors and Historical Society, and has been an interpreter at the Robbins House for six years. Joe helped conduct research for Robbins House programs and does character interpretation of Peter Robbins, who purchased the Robbins House in 1823.