Black Heritage Trail Tea Talks, February - March

January 26, 2018

Black Heritage Trail

Elinor William Hooker Tea Talks

February – March 2018

Presented by the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire in partnership with the Portsmouth Public Library, these Sunday afternoon “Tea Talks” will be held at the Portsmouth Public Library, Levenson Room, 175 Parrot Avenue, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, from 2 – 4 pm.

Events are free and open to the public unless noted otherwise.

In case of inclement weather, a cancelled talk will be rescheduled for Sunday, March 18 or Sunday, March 25.

“We speak so much of memory for there is so little of ours left.” Pierre Nora

Every society has its collective memories. The U.S. has, among others, Washington and the cherry tree, Paul Revere’s ride, and Benjamin Franklin’s inventions. This series of participatory lectures related to New Hampshire’s hidden history of people of color will explore how memory is shaped and how it operates to create a value system even if what is collectively remembered deviates from facts.

Reclaiming Native American Culture
Sunday, February 4
2 – 4 PM

Contrary to popular belief, New Hampshire’s history did not begin with the arrival of European settlers and all of New Hampshire’s indigenous people were not killed off by disease and war. At six million strong, Native Americans are a vibrant part of America’s present. This talk will explore current debates, including the perennial discussion over an art panel in the US Post Office in Durham and the effects of race on reclaiming indigenous spaces of remembrance not only in New Hampshire but across the country. 


  • Paul Pouliot, Chief Speaker for the Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook & Abenaki People
  • Siobhan Senier, Professor of English, University of New Hampshire
  • Liz Charlebois, Abenaki educator, artist, and leader

View this event on Facebook!

Black Men as Ritual Sacrifice for the Creation of White Identity
Sunday, February 11
2 – 4 PM

Most conversations about race focus on inter-racial violence and competition (whites v. people of color). This talk explores intra-racial violence and competition (elite whites v working class and poor whites) as the origin and purpose behind the creation of what we call “white” and how this designation is maintained through ritual violence and the ritual use of a sacrificial class of underprivileged people to diffuse that competition.

Warning: PowerPoint presentation contains graphic images.

Presenter: Rev. Ian White Maher

View this event on Facebook!

Sites of Memory: Reconstructing the Past
Sunday, February 18
2 – 4 PM

In a compelling speech about race in America, Mitch Landrieu said “There is a difference between remembrance of history and reverence of it.” Through discussing physical and artistic sites of memory, including the soldier memorial in York, Maine, a cellar hole in Hancock, NH, and the pages of a graphic novel, this panel will explore how a narrative picture of the past develops an identity for our present.


  • Senator David Watters, Retired Professor of English, UNH
  • Eric Aldrich, Independent Scholar
  • Joel Christian Gill, American cartoonist, comics artist, graphic novelist

View this event on Facebook!

Ain’t I a Woman
Sunday, February 25
2 – 4 PM

 “In the wake of Democrat Doug Jones’ victory in the Alabama special election, Black women again became icons, trapped in a cycle of ennoblement, flattening, and dehumanization.”

Black women and girls have continually been on the front lines of progressive change movements, using their voices and stories to mobilize intersectional coalitions to dismantle oppressive systems. Yet, they are routinely portrayed in television and film as sassy, neck-rolling harpies with major attitude problems. Black women say these depictions have real world consequences in their lives and careers.


  • Delia Konzett, Professor of English, University of New Hampshire
  • Courtney Marshall, Instructor in English, Philips Exeter Academy
  • Professor Aria Halliday
  • Professor Kabria Baumgartner

View this event on Facebook!

Richard Potter: America’s First Black Celebrity
Sunday, March 4
2 – 4 PM

This event will not be held at the library. Location TBA. Registration required. Stay tune for more information!

Author Presentation, Living History Performance, Book Signing & House Tour

Apart from a handful of exotic and almost completely unreliable tales surrounding his life, Richard Potter is mostly unknown today. Two hundred years ago he was the most popular entertainer in America—in fact, the first showman to win nationwide fame. His story is even more remarkable in that Richard Potter was also a black man. Working as a magician and ventriloquist, he personified for an entire generation what a popular performer was and made an invaluable contribution to establishing popular entertainment as a major part of American life.

Join author John Hodgson as he shares his work on one of the most captivating personalities in the history of his craft. Get a rare peek backstage at the dawning of the entertainment industry, the rise of American celebrity and learn of Potter’s New Hampshire connection.

“The thrill I felt in reading Hodgson’s pathbreaking book—and, through it, discovering Richard Potter, the man and his times—was, in a word, magical.”  Henry Louis Gates Jr.

This event will also offer a living history performance featuring Bob Olson, a book signing, and a guided backstage tour of the Portsmouth Music Hall.


  • Author John Hodgson and Living History Performer Bob Olson
  • Robert Olson, from Old Sturbridge Village, has spent the past 30 years studying and recreating Potter’s magic.

View this event on Facebook!

I Can’t Breathe: Musings from a New Generation of New Hampshirites
Sunday, March 11
2 – 4 PM

When we mark down our history through a form of memorialization, we not only ensure that we will not forget the person or event paid tribute to, but that our future generations will have this knowledge as well. Hear from a group of young New Hampshire residents about their journey to self-discovery as ‘people of color’ in a state often described as “lilly white.”


  • Jubilee Byfield, University of New Hampshire, Class of 2019
  • Nya Barnette [TBA]
  • Grace Wilson

View this event on Facebook!

Tea Talks