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Join us in Observing the Two-Hundredth Anniversary of Brister Freeman’s Death

2022 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Brister Freeman (1744-1822) was enslaved in Concord for the first 30 or so years of his life.

Having gained his freedom after fighting in the Revolutionary War – when he changed his name from Brister Cuming to Brister Freeman – he purchased an acre of “old field” in Walden Woods. There he lived with his wife, Fenda, and their three children, supporting his family as a day laborer. About thirty years after Freeman died, Thoreau wrote about him in
Walden; over 150 years after that Elise Lemire recounted Freeman’s story in Black Walden: Slavery and Its Aftermath in Concord, Massachusetts.

Saturday, July 9 th • 12:00 – 1:30pm • At the Robbins House
Co-sponsored by the Thoreau Society and The Robbins House

Organized by Black Walden author Elise Lemire and Somerville resident Steven Flythe

Lunch from Saltbox Kitchen can be ordered ahead here, or feel free to bring a picnic lunch and blanket

A limited number of chairs will be available for those who need them

Poetry Reading by Danielle Legros Georges

Danielle Legros Georges is the Director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Lesley University. She is also the former Poet Laureate of the City of Boston, and the author of several books of poetry, including most recently Island Heart: The Poems of Ida Faubert, a book of English translations from the French (Subpress Collective, 2021).

Kora Music by John Hughes

John Hughes is an internationally renowned composer, kora player, percussionist and vocalist whose style crosses myriad cultural boundaries and fuses disparate influences. John has studied the music song and dance of West Africa for over 28 years, training with numerous master drummers and dancers from Guinea and Mali. As a Kora player, his playing is deeply rooted in the ancient Mande tradition.

Homecoming Ceremony led by the Reverend Bertram Johnson

Rev. Bertram Johnson is a faith leader who has spent more than two decades  serving churches, non-profits, and faith-based organizations dedicated to social justice, spiritual care, and public health. Bertram is a minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and was the first openly gay African American to be ordained in the denomination.

Conversation between Elise Lemire and Steven Flythe about Brister Freeman's Life and Legacy

Elise Lemire, raised in Lincoln MA and the author of Black Walden, joins social justice advocate and Somerville MA resident, Steven Flythe, for a wide-ranging discussion about Brister Freeman’s life and legacy and how historic commemoration shapes our future.


12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Event Category:


The Robbins House
320 Monument Street Across from the North Bridge and The Old Manse
Concord, 01742 United States
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