The Duxbury Rural & Historical Society

Bradford History Symposium

Duxbury Rural & Historical Society

Bradford House Symposium
HIDDEN FIGURES in American History

Saturday, March 23, 2019 (9:30 am – 3:00 pm)


Schedule of Events:

9 am: Registration

9:30 am: Opening Remarks, Erin McGough

♦ Erin McGough, DRHS Executive Director & Moderator

9:35 am: Presenter, Eileen McNamara

♦ Eileen McNamara, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author, Brandeis University
Eunice: the Kennedy Who Changed the World

Eileen McNamara (c) Roger Pelissier

What if the Kennedy who left the most profound legacy was not Jack or Bobby or Ted but their formidable sister, Eunice? That is Eileen McNamara’s contention in Eunice, the Kennedy who Changed the World.  Her biography of Eunice Kennedy Shriver argues that we should remember the fifth child of Joseph and Rose Kennedy for much more than Special Olympics. She was, in fact, the architect of one of 20th century’s great civil rights movements, on behalf of people with intellectual disabilities. A former columnist at The Boston Globe, where she won a Pulitzer Prize for Commentary and contributed to the newspaper’s coverage of the clergy sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, McNamara is now director of the Journalism Program at Brandeis University.

10:25 am: Presenter, Meaghan Siekman

♦ Meaghan Siekman, PhD, New England Historic Genealogical Society
Discovering Difficult Genealogies

Meaghan Siekman

Ms. Siekman holds a Ph.D. in history from Arizona State University where her focus was public history and American Indian history. At the New England Historic Genealogical Society, Ms. Siekman’s research areas include African American, American Indian, and German American Genealogy, westward migration and settlement in the American West, and tracing maternal lines. In partnership with the Georgetown Memory Project, she is currently conducting oral histories with descendants of the 272 slaves sold by Georgetown University in 1838 as part of a larger project to create a database of information, records, family trees, and interviews of the GU272 and their descendants. She is co-author to a weekly column on African American genealogy with Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. which has traced families all over the country from recent personal tragedies, to the Jim Crow South, Reconstruction, and back before the end of slavery. She is author to guides for African American genealogical research published through NEHGS and frequently lectures and gives webinars on locating ancestors of African descent before and after emancipation. As a public historian and a genealogist, Ms. Siekman is passionate about connecting the present to the past in ways that are engaging and help us better understand contemporary society.

11:15 am: 10 minute break

11:25 am: Presenter, David Furlow

♦ David Furlow, Fellow, Texas Supreme Court Historical Society & Editor, Pilgrim Isaac Allerton Society Journal. Isaac Allerton: 17th Century America’s Behind-the-Scenes Founding Father

David Furlow

David Furlow’s interest in history is wide: he has been a History Channel expert and on-air commentator; written and presented widely on early American history topics, and most recently, was elected to the Board of Trustees for Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Professionally, Mr. Furlow is a lawyer with a practice focused on History and the Constitution. Mr. Furlow has won important First Amendment, voting rights, and commercial cases in trial and appellate courts, the Texas Supreme Court, the Fifth Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court. He founded the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society Journal and has served as its Executive Editor since 2011.

12:15 pm: lunch break (50 min.)

1:05 pm: Presenter, Lee Blake

♦ Lee Blake, President, New Bedford Historical Society
New Bedford’s Underground Railroad & Hidden Figures

Lee Blake (Source:

In 2018, Lee Blake was the recipient of the National Park Service’s Robert G. Stanton Award for Exemplary Support. The award is named in honor of Stanton, 15th director and first African American director of the National Park Service, for his steadfast support of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program. It recognizes individuals who demonstrate an ongoing commitment to engaging with and promoting the program. As president of the New Bedford Historical, Ms. Blake leads an organization that preserves and celebrates the legacy of African Americans, Cape Verdeans and Native Americans in her home town of New Bedford, MA. The Society has worked to preserve and document the history of the freedom seekers who found their way to New Bedford, a hub on the Underground Railroad in the 19th century. The Society has led the efforts to restore and preserve the Nathan and Mary Johnson House, the first home in freedom of Anna and Frederick Douglass, an Underground Railroad site and now a National Historic Landmark due to the efforts to the Society members. The Society promotes local research on the Underground Railroad and has added 5 sites to the Network to Freedom. Ms. Blake is a career educator, with a long history of public art and history projects, advocacy and professional development. Recently Ms. Blake received the Julie McCarthy Community Spirit Award for her work in Historic Preservation from Preservation Massachusetts.

1:55 pm: Presenter, Carolyn Ravenscroft

♦ Carolyn Ravenscroft, DRHS Historian & Archivist
Duxbury’s Women at Sea: Those Who Sailed During the 19th Century

Carolyn Ravenscroft

It has long been known that a few Duxbury women went to sea during the town’s maritime heyday. In 2018, DRHS Archivist & Historian, Carolyn Ravenscroft, embarked on a journey of her own, to find the names of other women who made voyages and to discover their stories. To date, Ms. Ravenscroft has discovered more than 35 Duxbury women who sailed from 1809-1890. Her research personalizes their stories and puts women into the mainstream narrative of maritime history. Ms. Ravenscroft is the Duxbury Rural and Historical Society’s Archivist & Historian and lectures widely on subjects related to Duxbury’s history. Ms. Ravenscroft’s research served as impetus for the re-interpretation of the Bradford House Museum in Duxbury, in 2017.

2:45 pm: Final Remarks, Erin McGough


As a lasting legacy for the Reimagined Bradford House, the biennial History Symposium began in 2017, dedicated to uncovering forgotten histories, discovering rich and varied histories, and fostering conversations about difficult truths.

Location: Merry Room, Duxbury Free Library
DRHS Members: $25; Non Members: $35; Students: $25.

Important Note: pre-registration is required; no tickets will be sold at the door

A 50 minute lunch break is scheduled and you may bring a lunch or visit a local restaurant. An onsite lunch option from The Foodsmith, Duxbury is offered at additional charge of $15 per person, reservation required. This lunch option includes meat & vegetarian sandwich sliders, kale or grain salad, cookie, chips, and water. Read more about The Foodsmith, Duxbury:

Proceeds from this event support the preservation and re-interpretation of the Bradford House museum. Details subject to change; updates will be posted at



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Bradford Symposium Ticket

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