The Robbins House was happy to welcome its new site director to the team last week. Her name is Elon Cook and she is a public historian, genealogist and graduate of Brown University’s masters in Public Humanities. Elon will be blogging monthly about the Robbins House’s newest programs, events and exhibitions.
We are also ramping up activities for the summer and making exciting new plans for the fall. Please follow our website, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for updates, news and to join the Robbins House community!
Director’s Note June 2015
I am thrilled to work for the Robbins House and get to know the beautiful community of Concord, Massachusetts. I was attracted to this wonderful historic site by the multitude of stories that can be told about and through the former residents of the Robbins House, the larger Concord community and regional and national linkages. The organization’s hardworking staff, board and advisors pulled the house and its history from, as writer Zora Neal Hurston said “inconspicuous forgetfulness.” Their dedication has been truly inspirational and I am so thankful to call them my colleagues.
It is inspiring that Concord hosts one of the only remaining historic sites that commemorates the legacy of a previously enslaved African American Revolutionary War Veteran.
As a proud member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), the story of Caesar Robbins, who found freedom after serving in America’s war for independence, really spoke to me. The service of Africans and African American men in the Revolutionary War is not well known, but it is part of my mission to ensure that it is celebrated.
I am the first member of my family to join DAR. Many women of color hesitate to join because of the organization’s historical exclusion of Black women from their membership and their refusal to allow opera singer Marion Anderson to perform at DAR Constitution Hall in 1939. However, the organization has seen many great changes in the last 20 years and has even begun to actively seek applicants of color. I will be proudly representing The Robbins House at this year’s Daughters of the American Revolution Continental Congress. If you are a member or interested in joining the Daughters, Sons or Children of the American Revolution, we hope that you will stop by the Robbins House and say hello during your next visit to Concord or the Boston area.
If you plan to visit to the Robbins House this summer I hope you will also check out the Concord Museum’s newest exhibition on the life of Thomas Dugan. Dugan was an African American self-emancipated slave who lived in Concord around the same time as Caesar Robbins and his children. Dugan has become known around Concord for helping to introduce or increase the use of rye cradles and grafting apples. Despite modest beginnings, Dugan lived a long life of hard work. At its end, he left a will and portioned out money, property and goods to his descendants; a rare thing for a former slave to be able to do. Stop in the Concord Museum to see some of the actual objects Dugan left to his children.
Want to learn more about Concord’s African American history? Check out the Robbins House and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
We will be updating all summer long with the latest events, news and exciting untold histories.
See you at the house,