Black Heritage Trail Tea Talks, February - March

January 9, 2019

Black Heritage Trail

Elinor William Hooker Tea Talks

February – March 2019

Presented by the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire in partnership with the Portsmouth Public Library, four of the six Tea Talks will be held at the Portsmouth Public Library, Levenson Room, 175 Parrot Avenue, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, from 2 – 4 pm. (The February 3rd Tea Talk will be held at South Church in Portsmouth. The March 3rd Tea Talk will be held at Temple Israel in Portsmouth. See more details below.)

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 weaken our greatness when we hide behind walls, rather than tear them down; when we doubt the power of our ideals, rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been.” — Senator John McCain (2018)

For many in the U.S., it feels as if the country has never been more fractured. The nation, it seems, has become irrevocably divided along political, ideological, and racial lines. One author suggests that this current view of divisiveness is inaccurate as our nation has never been one united nation. A recent PEW report, where nearly three-quarters of Black young Americans believe the nation is very divided over race, religion, wealth & income, appears to confirm this disunion.

Through shared stores and dialogue these Sunday afternoon dialogues will explore these conflicts and present ideas on how we as a nation could move beyond these tensions.

Land, Wealth, and Policies of Marginalization
Sunday, February 3
2 – 4 PM

This event will not be held at the library. It will be held at South Church in Portsmouth.

Despite improvements in education, social mobility and many other critical arenas, large racial and ethnic disparities still exist in the U.S. Years of intentional government policies that removed lands and resources from Native Americans and restricted access for African Americans have created a significant wealth divide in the country that continues to create inequities faced today.

This panel will explore how policies and environmental issues disenfranchised the very groups they should equalize. 


  • Meghan Howey 
  • Woullard Lett


Black Women Magic in New Hampshire
Sunday, February 10
2 – 4 PM

Black women have been leaders in this country for centuries as abolitionists, voting rights advocates, college founders, civil rights defenders, labor leaders, entrepreneurs and more. Often, their determination to overcome race and gender issues have been seen as unusual or magical which minimize their labor and talent.

Through shared stores and an exploration of the feminist movement attendees will hear from some of New Hampshire’s most successful Black women on their journey to the powerful position they hold in white-centered environments.


  • Melanie Levesque
  • Yvonne Goldsberry
  • Nadine Thompson

In the Beginning, There was the Word
Sunday, February 17
2 – 4 PM

The relationship between religion and race in American is complex. 20th century scholars ranked world religions on an evolutionary scale. Not surprisingly, many of the religions deemed “primitive” were also those practiced by indigenous, non-White populations.

This evolutionary ranking plays a vital role in the construction, deconstruction, and transgression of racial identities and religious boundaries in the country today.

This panel of theologians will explore the relationship between church, race, and state and the role the church could play in healing the soul of the nation.


  • Rev. Robert Thompson
  • Rev. Gail Avery
  • Rev. Larry Brickner Wood (TBC)

Permit Patty, BBQ Becky & Coupon Carl
Sunday, February 24
2 – 4 PM

From the rash of 911 calls targeting people of color to a racist jingle that turned a Christmas tune into a KKK theme song, there is no shortage of examples of how implicit bias impacts how we seethe world and resulting actions that have real and lasting impacts.

Join us for an experiential talk to explore the role of implicit bias in our lives. Implicit bias is a universal phenomenon, not limited by race, gender, or even country of origin. It refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. It is a manifestation of how we have been shaped and socialized in the world. It is a major contributor to racism. Is there anything we can do about it? The answers may surprise you.


  • Michele Holt-Shannon
  • Dr. Dottie Morris

Tell Me the Truth: Exploring the Heart of Cross-Racial Conversations
Sunday, March 3
2 – 4 PM

This event will not be held at the library. It will be held at Temple Israel in Portsmouth.

How can we speak openly and honestly in cross-racial conversations? What would such a conversation even sound like? Join Shay Stewart-Bouley( Black Girl in Maine) and author Debby Irving as they talk about racism’s impact on their lives and how conversation has been instrumental in their own understanding of 21st century racial dynamics.

Shay and Debby will explore the common fears and pitfalls of cross-racial conversation that keep people isolated in their own racial groups, at the expense of personal, professional, and societal growth. They’ll also help audience members understand how interpersonal social patterns hinder organizations from living up to their own ideals for diversity and how good intentions can actually undermine collective progress.


  • Shay Stewart-Bouley
  • Debby Irving

And Still We Rise
Sunday, March 10
2 – 4 PM

Can you really improve race relations in a country that is so divided? Through dialogue and story sharing this panel will present three innovative ways to build bridges.

We will hear from one organization that is working to strengthen the cultural knowledge and identity of New England Native American youth and families; discover new state initiatives for economic growth through diversity and inclusion; and begin the dialogue around reparation for the injuries of enslavement and its aftermath.


  • Wildolfo Arvelo
  • Judy Dow
  • Brenda Lett
Tea Talks