The Northampton Arts Council works to support and nurture the arts in the city of Northampton. The Council awards grants twice each year to artists and arts groups from both state and locally-raised funds, and seeks to improve public awareness of the arts. Its' goals include maintaining and preserving the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Northampton, programming such annual events of interest to the community as First Night Northampton and Transperformance.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Local Communities Connect Through Reading

September 25, 2018 - Four communities are coming together during October and November in a partnership called All Hamptons Read. The inspiration for this multi-community initiative is the book Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar, a National Book Award finalist. Spearheaded by the public libraries in Northampton, Florence, Easthampton, Southampton and Westhampton, All Hamptons Read is sponsoring dozens of events exploring slavery and the underground railroad, nationally and locally, through discussion, walking tours, art, film and lecture. We are thrilled to have the author speaking at a culminating event, Escaping Slavery, Envisioning Freedom, on November 27 with Barbara Krauthamer (UMass) at the new Northampton Center for the Arts at 33 Hawley Street. Community partners for this project are wide reaching including: Historic Northampton, UMass Amherst Public History Program, The David Ruggles Center for Early Florence History & Underground Railroad Studies, Sojourner Truth Memorial Committee, Northampton Film Festival and Northampton Community Television.

“All Hamptons Reads is a community project rich with the possibility of generating moments of shared understanding and aesthetic, with rich opportunity for shared discussion and celebration of the art of reading a book.”
-- P. Al Williams, Executive Director, Northampton Community Television

“Erica Armstrong Dunbar’s Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge changes the way we think about American history, the Founding Generation, and the reality of slavery as a crucial institution in the formation of the United States. By telling this history  from the vantage point of Ona Judge, this book challenges our national narratives by forcing us to confront, face to face, the contradiction of slaveholding among those who professed a love of liberty and a commitment to building a nation rooted in the Democratic ideals. Those who love a great story, meticulously researched and told by one of America’s premier historians, must read Never Caught!”
-- Ousmane K. Power-Greene, Associate Professor of History, Clark University, author of Against Wind and Tide: The African American Struggle Against the Colonization Movement

Copies of Never Caught are available to borrow from the participating libraries and locations in each community. Ebooks and eaudio are also available through Overdrive. For a complete list of events and exhibits please visit

Concurrent with All Hamptons Read, the traveling exhibit Lewis Hayden and the Underground Railroad is coming to Northampton at Forbes Library during the month of November. An exhibit entitled “Chaotic Freedom and the Scars of Slavery” will be exhibited at Historic Northampton beginning on October 12th and the David Ruggles Center for History and Education will preview the upcoming exhibit, “The Underground Railroad in Northampton and Florence: People, Places and Paper,” in conjunction with their walking tour on October 28th.

We are thankful to our co-sponsors, including:
UMass Amherst’s Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series
UMass History Department
Amherst College English Department
Mt. Holyoke College Africana Studies Department
Northampton Community Television
Florence Bank
Friends of Forbes
Easthampton Emily Williston Memorial Library Friends
Southampton Edwards Library Friends
Westhampton Library Friends
Historic Northampton
David Ruggles Center for History and Education

Convention of former slaves, Wash., D.C. , 1916. Photograph.

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