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Posts Tagged ‘underground railway’

When I first wrote about the Concord home of former slave Caesar Robbins, a group of concerned citizens had just raised enough money to save it from demolition and move it near the North Bridge (in the Minute Man National Historical Park). See that post here.

Quite a lot has happened since then, and it looks like the refurbished house should be open to the public soon, if not in time for Patriots Day 2012, celebrated today.

Concord was once a stop on the Underground Railway, so saving the first Concord home owned by a freed slave is in keeping with that history.

By the way, if you are my reader in Australia or South Korea, you may not know about Patriots Day, which is a big deal in most of New England. People here consider April 19, 1775, the start of the American Revolution, although there are other worthy claimants for that honor. Paul Revere and Samuel Prescott rode to warn colonists that the British were coming, and shots were fired in Concord and Lexington.

Nowadays the day is commemorated on the closest Monday. Schools and libraries close. The Boston Marathon is run. Parades and reenactments sprout all over the region. One of my colleagues gets up at crack of dawn to march between towns in costume, playing the fife. In spite of all the hoopla, there is something about it that touches people.

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There’s a theory that if you want information to stick, it helps to tie it to emotions. The Center for Community Capital at the University of North Carolina tested the idea with The Bold and the Bankable: How the Nuestro Barrio Soap Opera Effectively Delivers Financial Education to Latino Immigrants.

It’s all true: If a character you like goes bankrupt because of reckless behavior with money, you are likely to remember and apply the learning to your own situation.

Last week I had the pleasure of attending a theatrical production by teenagers from the Underground Railway Youth Theater who had written a script from interviews they conducted with 80 people of all ages. The teens asked interviewees about their experiences with money and how they felt about it. Some of the stories were quite moving, and the high school audience’s emotions were likely engaged as they were quiet as mice.

There was a talkback afterward. A few students wanted to know how to join Youth Underground.

From the group’s website: “Youth Underground serves youth ages 13-18 with stipend eligible opportunities to create theater together and in tandem with community-based organizations; and to showcase their work throughout the city, Greater Boston, and at Central Square Theater. Youth Underground holds both an academic year program and intensive summer residency with an annual Ensemble of 30 members. Youth Underground showcases work through performances, a youth driven Community Dialogue Series, and peer exchanges with local and global organizations.”

The Boston Globe has a good article on it.

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