Author Talks/Guest Speakers

"Before Brooklyn: The Unsung Heroes Who Helped Break Baseball's Color Barrier " by Ted Reinstien
Tuesday, April 4 (7 PM) - At the Adams Center 
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Join us for an evening author talk event featuring author and Chronicle reporter, Ted Reinstein. Ted will be discussing his most recent book, Before Brooklyn: The Unsung Heroes Who Helped Break Baseball's Color Barrier, published in 2021.

When Jack Roosevelt Robinson took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947, he made history by breaking Major League Baseball’s longtime ban on Black players.  His uniform number (42) is the only one permanently retired by all of Major League Baseball’s thirty teams.

What’s less well-known— and largely lost to history—is that a small army of men, women, and institutions of many types fought for many long and bitter years prior to Robinson’s triumphant debut in Brooklyn. This hidden story includes former stars of the legendary Negro Leagues like Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Oscar Charleston, and “Cool Papa” Bell. It includes the founder of the Negro Leagues themselves, the inexhaustible and indomitable Rube Foster, whose own story is both inspiring and tragic. It includes the Black press whose publishers and courageous journalists like Robert Abbott, Sam Lacey, Ida B. Wells, and Willa Bea Harmon raised the consciousness of Americans both Black and white to the ugly, racist underside of the national pastime. The sweeping struggle extended to America’s railroads and its Pullman Porters, who risked their jobs to become the Black press’s most unlikely but vital ally, covertly distributing copies of African-American newspapers as they crisscrossed the country. The story crossed oceans amidst World War II, when fabled all-Black units like the 761st Tank Battalion smashed both Nazi strongholds and racist stereotypes. And it even played out at Boston’s own Fenway Park where an extraordinary collaboration between a Black reporter (Wendell Smith) and a white city councilor (Izzy Muchnick) would light the final fuse that brought the barrier down in Brooklyn a scant few months later.

These and more unsung heroes were true pioneers, battling the color barrier for sixty years before Brooklyn, while making a path possible for Jackie Robinson. It was a battle largely in the shadows. But like Rosa Parks on a Montgomery bus, or John Lewis on a bridge in Selma, it was a battle of dignity and defiance in a hard-won war for justice. And this is their story.

Since 1995, Ted Reinstein has been a reporter for Boston’s WCVB-TV’s “Chronicle,” the nation’s longest-running locally-produced nightly-newsmagazine. He has also been regular contributor to the station’s political roundtable show, “On the Record.” Ted has been a member of the WCVB editorial board since 2010. 

Poetry Reading Night: Featuring Bill Alberti and Miriam O'Neal
Wednesday, April 19 (6 PM) - At the Adams Center
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Join local poets Bill Alberti and Miriam O'Neal as they read their own poetry at the Adams Center. Prior to the event, attendees will be able to sign up for a three-minute spot (maximum of 10 spots) to either recite their own poetry or lines from a favorite poem during the second half of the program. 

Marc Berger Music Program
Saturday, April 22 (2 PM) - At the Adams Center
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Nationally touring artist Marc Berger will visit perform at the Adams Center, for an afternoon of music, stories, and songs. Berger's performance highlight his album RIDE, which is a mix of country folk songs with touches of bluegrass, roots, Americana, spicy Cajun and indie. He has performed at the Austin SXSW Music Festival and the Kerrville Folk Festival, while opening for Bob Dylan and other national acts. His acclaimed album RIDE, a collection of songs all having to  do with the romance of the West, has received national airplay and been licensed by Starbucks for worldwide exposure. 

You can learn more about Marc on his website here.

Microadventures in Massachusetts with Alison O'Leary
Tuesday, May 2 (6 PM) - At the Adams Center
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Massachusetts is full of history, spectacular scenery, wildlife, and wonderful opportunities for adventure. Most of these places are hidden in plain sight: our state parks and accessible nature preserves. Get inspiration for your spring, summer or fall day drips and adventures in one program. 

Alison O'Leary, author of Best Day Hikes Near Boston, will include images and maps showing the sites described. She will also offer copies of her book to purchase following the event. O'Learly is a Mass native, longtime journalist and author of several non-fiction history and outdoors books. She is also an avid outdoor explorer.

You can learn more about Alison O'Learly by clicking here.