ANDROSCOGGIN VALLEY — The year of Strong Women continues with three free programs available via the online video platform Zoom. This fall, a partnership of five north country libraries is happy to resume the celebration of amazing women whose courage and determination changed the future of our country. This series of three events is being presented by five North Woods Libraries – Berlin, Gorham, Milan, and Randolph Public Libraries, and White Mountains Community College’s Fortier Library, with guidance, funding and materials from New Hampshire Humanities and the National Endowments for the Humanities, and cooperation of the N.H. State Library.

On Wednesday, Sept. 16, at 6 p.m., the fall series will begin with a live Zoom presentation and book discussion featuring Carolyn Hutton, a NHH Connections facilitator who will bring to light the remarkable history of Ona Judge, who escaped the slavery of George and Martha Washington and found freedom in New Hampshire. The book, “Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge,” by Erica Armstrong Dunbar, will be available to borrow from local libraries or downloaded from the N.H. State Library in ebook and audio book formats. Limited copies of a young adult edition are also available and middle/high schoolers are encouraged to participate. Contact the libraries listed below for copies or for more information.

Anne B. Gass is an independent historian and an authority on the suffrage movement. She is the great-granddaughter of Florence Brooks Whitehouse, who was a suffrage leader in Maine over a century ago. On Wednesday, Oct. 14th, at 6 p.m., Anne will present “Voting Down the Rose: Florence Brooks Whitehouse and Maine’s Fight for Woman Suffrage” via Zoom. The talk uses historic photos and narrative to explore Florence's background and her leadership in moving suffrage forward in Maine, including joining forces with National Woman's Party leader Alice Paul in a desperate, last-ditch effort to ensure the Maine legislature ratified the 19th Amendment through which women nationwide at last won voting rights. Anne’s book of the same title is available for purchase through Amazon.com and Maine Author's Publishing.

Completing the series, on Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 6 p.m., we will “Meet Lucy Stone: Enter the Antebellum World of the Abolition and Woman's Rights Movements.” There was a time in our national history when a married woman did not have legal rights to the money she earned, the property she inherited, or the children she bore. During this same era citizens of the United States thought it a legal and rational pursuit to buy and trade human beings. Lucy Stone, born in Brookfield Mass. in 1818, decided this was not the nation she wanted to grow in and spent her life speaking out for the democracy that this nation, upon its inception, had promised its inhabitants. Crisscrossing the country, she spoke eloquently and passionately about the most important issues of her time. A contemporary of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone, the best known female orator of her era, will address the issues of woman’s rights and abolition, plus share with her audience chapters from her own life. Ms. Stone will be summoned through the personage of storyteller/actress Judith Black, who was commissioned to create this work by the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities in partnership with the Tsongas Industrial History Center at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, as part of the State House Woman’s Leadership Project. Judith’s website is storiesalive.com.

To attend, audience members must submit an email address and have access to a computer or phone with video and/or microphone capability. Interested participants can register at: wmcc.edu/fortier-library. To receive updates for these and future programs, or if you have questions, contact one of the libraries partnering in this series: Berlin Public Library (603) 752-5210, Gorham Public Library (603) 466-2525, Milan Public Library (603) 449-7307, Randolph Public Library (603) 466-5408, or the WMCC Fortier Library (603) 342-3087.

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