January 21, 2019
The story of “The Life and Times of a Quiet American Hero – Ebenezer Bassett” will be told at the next meeting of the Milford Historical Society on Jan. 21, 2019 at 7 p.m. at the Mary Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church on the Green. The program is free, and the public is invited.
Bassett (1833 – 1908) was the first African American diplomat of the United States who in 1869 was appointed to a position equivalent to ambassador to Haiti and charge’ d’affaires to the Dominican Republic. (His position was called Consul General or Minister Resident; the term ambassador was not used in the U.S. until 1893.)
The speaker will be Carolyn Ivanoff, assistant principal of Shelton High School. Also speaking will be Alderman Brian Anderson (D-5) who is related to Bassett. Anderson will tell about an upcoming documentary on Bassett and will bring letters, photos and other materials related to his life.
Bassett grew up in Derby and in 1853 became the first black student at the Connecticut Normal School (now Central Connecticut State University). He graduated with honors and was asked to speak at graduation. He later took classes at Yale while serving as principal of a public grammar school in New Haven. It was at that time that he became friends with fellow abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
When Ulysses S. Grant was elected president, he looked for black leaders to fill important political positions. Douglass, through political allies at the White House, recommended Bassett who then became one of the highest-ranking African Americans in the U.S. government.
The Yale Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity and Transnational Migration presents a “Yale Bassett Award for Community Engagement” each year to high school juniors for creative leadership, public service and interdisciplinary problem solving.
More about Bassett’s life may be found in the book “Hero of Hispaniola: America’s First Black Diplomat” by Christopher Teal. Bassett is buried in Grove Street Cemetery, New Haven
Coffee and dessert will be served before the talk. Although admission is free, donations are gratefully accepted.
January 28, 2019
Marty Podskoch will present a talk on his newly published book: CT 169 Club, described as "your passport and guide to exploring CT" on January 28th at 7 pm at Case Memorial Library, 176 Tyler City Rd, Orange, CT. Also present will be the local authors of the sections in the book regarding the towns of Woodbridge, Orange and Milford. All will be available to sign books that are purchased that evening.
February 6, 2019
The joint meeting of the Milford Historical Society and the Orange Historical Society is Feb. 6 at 7:00 pm at the Orange Congregational Church. Nick Bellantoni, an associate adjunct professor in the anthropology department at the University of Connecticut and Emeritus Connecticut State Archaeologist at the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History, will talk about his book, The Long Journeys Home: The Repatriations of Henry 'Opukaha'ia and Albert Afraid of Hawk (The Driftless Connecticut Series & Garnet Books). He will bring copies of his book for anyone who wishes to purchase it.
March 6, 2019
Marty Podskoch will present a talk on his newly published book: CT 169 Club, described as "your passport and guide to exploring CT" on Wednesday, March 6 at 6:30 pm at the Milford Public Library, 57 New Haven Ave, Milford, CT 06460. Also present will be the local author Arthur Stowe, the City Historian and the author of the section in the book regarding Milford. Mr. Stowe will be available to sign books that are purchased that evening.
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