Reverend Samuel Harrison
I attended a celebration today of the 188th birthday of Reverend Samuel Harrison, born a slave, who was one of the pioneering equal rights advocates for African Americans in the United States. Reverend Harrison was appointed by Massachusetts governor John Andrew to be Chaplain of the famed "54th" Massachusetts Infantry, the subject of the movie "Glory." The Samuel Harrison Society
is currently working on raising matching funds to repair and renovate the home
of Reverend Harrison in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, about a 20 minute ride from here. Interestingly, Dept. Of Massachusetts SUVCW Councilor Stephen Twining
sits on the Society's Board of Directors. Their Mission Statement reads: "It is the mission of the Samuel Harrison to restore and preserve Reverend Harrison's homestead; and use it as a place to teach the values embodied by his noble life, his enduring beliefs, his extraordinary writings; and to define a chapter in the story of us as a people by providing greater insight into African-American history."
In January of 2005, Pittsfield was the site of the world premiere of a documentary about Reverend Harrison. In July of that same year, Congressman John Olver (D-MA) announced a $250,000 federal matching grant for restoration of his longtime house into an African American museum
and history center. But, as you know with any matching grant, you can't spend a dime unless you match that dime. And they need 2.5 million dimes. Harrison was also the first African American student at Western Reserve Academy
. If you would like to make a donation to help preserve Reverend Harrison's house, you can send it to:
Samuel Harrison Society
P.O. Box 378
Pittsfield, MA 01202
Let them know you heard about the efforts here.