One of my tablemates, at the Princeton chamber breakfast featuring Jacque Howard on Wednesday, was Robert Church of the Doughmain Education Fund based in Research Park. He told about a golf tournament on October 19 to raise funds for innovative financial literacy tools for students. He was also excited about a historical film re the slave trade and the Underground Railroad.
Church went to the Kimmel Center premiere of the new North Star film (the old one, made in 1943, was about the Nazi invasion) starring former Philadelphia Eagle Jeremiah Trotter as Benjamin “Big Ben” Jones.
From my point of view, The North Star was a remarkable re-telling of a truly American story that demonstrated what is great about the American spirit.
The North Star will be screened in Newtown, Pennsylvania with tickets available now through September 24th.
In this true story, Big Ben and Moses Hopkins, according to the plot summary, were slaves who escaped from a Virginia plantation and made their way to freedom in Buckingham (Bucks County) Pennsylvania in 1849. They experienced heroism, romance, and treachery. “Big Ben’s 6 foot 10 inch size and a record bounty for his safe return make him the focus of every slave hunter on the east coast. Their journey exposes them to danger and cruelty; however it also exposes them to the unexpected kindness of the people involved in the Underground Railroad. These experiences will change Ben and Moses forever. Upon reaching the relative safety of Mt. Gilead Church on Buckingham Mountain, Ben and Moses get to experience life as free men and cross paths with historical figures such as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and Joshua Fell.” Big Ben worked for Fell in Mechanicsville, PA.
When, how, can we see this film in New Jersey?
A new nonprofit, Sidebar Stories, invites anyone to a free workshop this Saturday at PUMC. If you sign up, you will be called an “ordinary expert.” You will learn how to own and tell your story in a way that makes sure it will be felt by those who need to know where you’ve been and what you’ve seen.
Founded by a hospice chaplain in Bucks County, Ron King, Sidebar Stories helps people connect real life experience, storytelling and visual art. “We offer a full day workshop for people we call ordinary experts to share a personal story related to a significant social issue that has impacted their life (living on minimum wage, urban violence, disability, race relations, veteran’s issues, affordable housing, etc).” says Ron.
At the end of the workshop, you will have made a 3 frame storyboard that can be published or posted to help advocates for your cause determine policies and provide services. Sign up here for the Sidebar Stories pARTy — it’s free, and lunch is included.
A Native American saying: “It takes a thousand voices to tell a single story.”
Do I have this straight? After decades of trying to develop the former Western Electric site on Carter Road, environmentalists and preservationists in Hopewell (known for their combativeness when it comes to defending rural turf) managed to fend off Berwind Property Group from building high-density housing.
The property, as described by MercerMe.com, is
“the first corporate park ever created in the United States. Built during the Cold War by Western Electric, the 360-acre site included an underground nuclear bunker for the use of the President of the United States and a runway for the President’s plane in the event of a nuclear attack.” Part of this campus has already been developed as Technology Center of Princeton, with Sensors Unlimited its most recent occupant of the largest building, with Worldwater and Lexicon also on the campus.
Jim Waltman, executive director of the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, had a hand in the deal, which went down in April. Waltman speaks at the Princeton Regional Chamber breakfast on Wednesday, June 17, at 8 am (networking at 7:30) and that’s TOMORROW if you are reading this Tuesday night. Yes, I know, late notice. But you don’t pay extra to be a walk-in — $25 for chamber members and it’s a good breakfast. .
Waltman will surely introduce the new Platinum-Leed-certified environmental center, shown above and designed by Farewell Architects (though not so credited on the Stony Brook website.) But also ask Waltman about how they managed to “do the Carter Road deal.” His more well-known battle was with Westerly Road Church (now Stone Hill Church) on its development of the Princeton Ridge. I’m guessing he’d answer questions about that too.
Researchers at Princeton University proved what we already knew, but had not documented: stress shortens your life. They studied 9-year-old black boys in both disadvantaged and advantaged environments.
February 2 will be Walter Harris Day. A Princeton Borough police officer, he was shot and killed in the line of duty on February 2, 1946. Greta Cuyler writes about it for Princeton Patch.
What caught my eye was this paragraph: The grandson of slaves, Walter Harris was born in Princeton and grew up on Jackson Street, which later became Paul Robeson Place. The family’s house was moved to Birch Street when Palmer Square was being developed and the trolley used to run in back of the Harris’ house.
What is now Palmer Square was formerly an a neighborhood of African Americans, many of whom worked at the university. Those who now live in what is sometimes known as “the Witherspoon neighborhood” remember the displacement.
Palmer Square is now, indeed, a tremendous asset to Princeton for both tourists and townies. It is a wonderful gathering place. But, as Sheldon Sturges says, it was “an enormous social justice wound.”