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Keene Chautauqua Returns to Keene, Sunday, August 14 at 1 p.m.

After a three-year hiatus, Keene Public Library is pleased to present veteran scholars and performers James Armstead and Rebecca Marks Jimerson as Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) and Ida B. Wells (1862–1931) at the Keene Chautauqua event, to be held Sunday, August 14, 2022, in Heberton Hall. The show, “Speakers of the Truth,” will present both scholars in a first-person, interactive portrayal of Washington and Wells. Booker T. Washington was an educator and reformer. He was responsible for the early development and success of what is now known as Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama. Wells was an anti-lynching crusader and one of the founders of the NAACP. She fought for equality for African Americans, especially women. She inspired hundreds of women to enter politics and confronted the dualities of race and gender discrimination. Both Washington and Wells were born into slavery and rose to become leading African American intellectuals shaping the political discourse of the 19 century. They both work for the advancement of African American people, but they differ in their beliefs regarding how this change should come about.

Dr. J. Holmes Armstead has performed Chautauqua presentations since 1993. He is a retired Strategy and International law professor from the US Naval War College. He has taught international law, strategy, and national security policy for nearly 50 years. Professor Armstead has served on faculties at Stanford University, Pepperdine University, the University of California, the University of  Nevada, Southern University, the US Naval Postgraduate School, Lewis University, the Virginia Military Institute, and Washington and Lee University. He has also lectured at the British Joint Services Staff College and taught as a visiting professor at the Universite d' Pau in France, and as an exchange professor at Richmond College at the University of London. In addition to Booker T. Washington, Dr. Armstead performs as Alexandre Pushkin, Alexander Dumas, explorer Mathew Hensen, and many others.

Rebecca Marks Jimerson will portray Ida B. Wells, an investigative journalist, educator, and early leader in the civil rights movement. Rebecca is an actress, playwright, and cultural storyteller. Rebecca attended the University of Southern California, the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, and Therapon University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts, Master of Science, and Ph.D. in Organization Leadership. Rebecca co-wrote the Play "Resurrecting Black Wall Street. In addition to Ida B. Wells, Rebecca also portrays Harriet Tubman.

Before the main Chautauqua event, the Horatio Colony House Museum will host a discussion on Washington’s memoir “Up From Slavery,” which was selected by The Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time. The discussion will take place on Thursday, August 11, at 6 p.m. The Horatio Colony House Museum is located at 199 Main Street. Parking is available at Saint Bernard's Church parking lot.

These events are co-sponsored by Keene Public Library and the Horatio Colony House Museum. Books are available for checkout from the Keene Public Library. The Horatio Colony House Museum is located at 199 Main Street. Please park at Saint Bernard's Church parking lot.

Keene Chautauqua is a joint program of the Keene Public Library and Horatio Colony House Museum. Keene Chautauqua is funded by the Friends of the Keene Public Library with a generous American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grant for Libraries, an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA), made possible with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. For more information about the Chautauqua programs, contact the Keene Public Library at 603-352-0157.

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