Saturday, April 13th
Our own Maria Madison, founder and co-president of The Robbins House, received the inaugural Robert Gross Award for Advancing Concord’s History.
Established by the Concord Museum, the award was created to honor an individual who has worked with the museum to expand its educational programming and to make the history the museum chronicles more dynamic and inclusive. The award was presented at the Patriots’ Ball on Saturday, April 13.
In announcing the award, Tom Putnam, Edward W. Kane executive director of the museum, said, “Maria Madison has led an extraordinary community effort to raise awareness of Concord’s African, African American and antislavery history. We are thrilled that she is the inaugural recipient of the Robert Gross Award for her commitment to expanding our collective understanding of this once hidden history.”
In its announcement, the museum noted that Maria is being recognized for her work as a community organizer promoting African American history in Concord and its regional and national significance, especially in relationship to the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, the Reconstruction Era as well as contemporary social justice movements.
Maria has been a tireless supporter and advocate for The Robbins House as it looks to commemorate the legacy of a previously enslaved Revolutionary War veteran and his descendants, including a “fugitive slave” from New Jersey and his daughter Ellen Garrison Jackson, who taught at schools for freed people in Maryland and Virginia following the Civil War and pursued probably the first case against racial discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1866.
In our continuing quest for social justice, the Robbins House today also serves as an interpretive center for thousands of global visitors.
In addition to her work with The Robbins House, Maria is the associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion at the Heller School for Social Policy and Brandeis University, and adjunct professor for evidence-based research methods, University of Global Health Equity, UGHE/Rwanda (Partners in Health).
The inaugural Award for Advancing Concord’s History is named in honor of historian Robert A. Gross, Concord Museum trustee and author of numerous publications and books, including “The Minutemen and Their World” (1976; 25th anniversary ed., 2001) whose scholarship has advanced the world’s understanding of the unique role Concord has played in the nation’s history. Gross, James L. Draper professor of early American history emeritus, University of Connecticut, is an advisory historian for The Robbins House, and obtained the letters and school reports written in 1863-1871 by Ellen G. Jackson as a freedmen’s teacher – lending her remarkable first-hand perspective to our interpretation. Gross is the author of the soon-to-be published book, “The Transcendentalists and Their World,” a social and cultural history of Concord in the era of Emerson and Thoreau.