The Lexington Minute Men Company

By E. Ashley Rooney

Some of us arrive at Lexington Common as early as 4:00 AM on Patriots’ Day so to get a prime spot for the ensuing events. As the day dawns, so do thousands of spectators. The colonists begin to assemble. Paul Revere and John Lowell run into Buckman’s tavern, retrieve Hancock’s trunk of secret papers, and run back across the green. The spectators begin to hear the steady pounding of drums and marching feet as column upon column of red-coated Regulars come proudly down the street. As the Regulars march onto the Green, the colonial militia nervously retreat. Angry words are spoken. Capt. John Parker exhorts them to hold their ground as Maj. John Pitcairn bellows for the rebels to disperse or face the bayonets of a fearsome battalion of more than 150 Redcoats.

We all know what happens next: “the shot heard around the world” is fired. Muskets fire volley after volley; the smoke is overwhelming, and eight colonists lie dead; another ten are wounded.

The Lexington Minute Men first reenacted this momentous skirmish in 1875, when President Ulysses S. Grant came to town. That was the year the Lexington Minute Men adopted the buff and blue uniforms they wear today. In 1971, anticipating the battle’s bicentennial, the Lexington Minute Men held a reenactment during the day. Since then, the annual battle reenactments start at dawn — as the actual events did in 1775 – and we can all feel that fear as the Redcoats toward the Green.

Seventy-seven members of the Lexington militia stood together on April 19, 1775. Many were third- or fourth-generation Americans. Most were over 30, and twenty were veterans of earlier wars, where they learned the guerrilla tactics they would use later that day. Their forty-five-year-old captain, John Parker, was one of those veterans, a farmer and father of seven.

Although we call them the Minute Men today, Lexington never officially had Minute Men. The town maintained a militia, which could be deployed “at a minute’s notice.” These men fought in their everyday clothes and used their own weapons.

The company was re-chartered in 1874 before the Centennial and President Ulysses S. Grant’s visit. On May 5, 1910, Massachusetts Governor Eben S. Draper established the Minute Men as an independent, unattached military command in Massachusetts.

Patriots’ Day Celebration
In 1894, Patriots’ Day became a state holiday in Massachusetts and Maine. In 1959, Congress established Minute Man National Historical Park, which honors the initial battles of the American Revolution through the preservation, restoration and interpretation of significant sites. The Lexington Battle Green is one of the eight locations in the United States where the U.S. flag is specifically authorized by law to fly 24 hours a day. Dedicated in 1976 to commemorate the battle’s bicentennial, the pole is a National Historic Landmark.[6]
In Lexington, the Minute Men are responsible for the battle, inviting a British contingent to meet them on Lexington Green. Over 18,000 people attended the Bicentennial reenactment of 1976. Today, the Lexington Minutemen are also involved in several other skirmishes (Parker’s Revenge and Tower Hill), which take place on the Saturday before Patriots’ Day. Lexington Town Celebration Committee (TCC) organizes the parades and coordinates the many other activities (e.g., concerts, road race, house tours) that precede and follow.

To become a Minute Man, you must be at least 18 and physically fit. The Lexington Minute Men not only reenact the battle that morning, but then they march the 2-mile parade route. You must enjoy history, like to appear in uniform, and enjoy marching and reenacting major moments in American history.

Their stated mission says, “From those who first fell on Lexington Green, to the heroes of today, we hope to continue telling the story of American Independence.” First Lieutenant Steve Cole comments, “Fifty years from my death, no one may remember me, but we want the memory of these patriots to remain alive forever.”
A Lexington resident, Steve started playing the drum at age 11 with the hope that someday he would join the Lexington Minute Men Company and be able to portray William Diamond. In 1996, at the age of 18, he joined the Lexington Minute Men, and his dream came true. Some other Lexington residents who are involved include previous captain Dr. Barry Cunha, participating as Lt. William Tidd, and Charlie Price as Prince Estabrook, a slave of the Estabrook family and a foot soldier.

Minute Men aren’t necessarily Lexingtonians, however. Kevin Collins, who has been in the company since 2007, resides in Marlboro. He has thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie of the group and its mission, “It’s nice the way the Minute Men are embedded with the town. They are one and the same. Lexington has such a passion about Patriots’ Day.” In fact, Kevin was so interested that he joined the Town Celebrations Committee. He says, “It feels really good to be involved in civic government where people care so much.”

Through school visits, reenactments, and speaking engagements, the Lexington Minute Men keep alive the memory of our country’s founding. They have marched in the inaugural parades of Presidents Woodrow Wilson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton. They have also served as honor guard during the Bicentennial visits of President Gerald Ford, Queen Elizabeth, and numerous Massachusetts governors.

They attend many local events in New England and travel to various historical sites yearly, including Fort Ticonderoga, Quebec City, and Yorktown. Each February, the members vote on what events to attend for the year.

For more information, visit.

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New $750,00 Fundraising Campaign Supporting ChiRP!

The Cary Library Foundation – raising private funds to support ‘pages, programs and possibilities’ at Cary Library – is thrilled to announce the kick off of a new $750,00 fundraising campaign supporting ChiRP! (Children’s Room Project). This project updates the Library’s lower level, including the Children’s Room and meeting spaces.

Transforming 20 Years of Being Well-Loved

Did you know? The Children’s Room has the highest use per square foot of any space in Cary Library. Well-loved, but also well-worn, it is in need of updates to serve and make it fully accessible to the next generation of Lexington kids.

Library services to young people have changed significantly since Cary Library’s last major renovation in 2004. While the library’s Children’s Room and meeting spaces were state of the art for their time, they do not work as well for today’s more participatory, people-first service models.

Cary Library Foundation Board Members left to right: Suman Murali, Martha Sevigny, Christine Manavian, Cindy Reuter, Pam Fowler, Marc Saint Louis, Mary Ellen Ringo, Executive Director, Liz O’Neil, Wei Ding, Sandra Galejs, Melanie Lin, Kimberly Hensle Lowrance, Marjan Kamali, Ann Boese. Not pictured: Jane Kalinski, April Wang, Veronica Caira, Jaya Vatsyayan, and Steve Yang. COURTESY PHOTO

21st Century Learners Need 21st Century Spaces

Cary Library’s current children’s spaces were designed in the late 1990s. Children’s programs included story times and performances. Young children came to quietly listen. Older,
school-aged children came to do reading and research.

Today we know that early literacy skills (talk, sing, read, write, play) are best supported when children can jump, walk and wiggle, using their whole body to learn and grow. Pre-school library programming has followed suit, becoming more playful and active. Library services for older children have also changed. Elementary education and library programming increasingly focus on experiential, hands-on learning in art, science, technology, and making. To meet our children’s programming needs, the Children’s Room requires a more flexible, adaptable use of space.

A Transformed Large Meeting Room

Next door to the Children’s Room, the Large Meeting Room was designed as an adult programming space for lectures and performances. But since 2004, library use has changed for adults as well, especially reflected in an increased interest in “hands on” programs about cooking, gardening, and crafting.

CHiRP! will add a mobile kitchen for cooking and science demonstrations and include storage to hold equipment needed for craft and making programs. Updated technology will allow Cary Library enhanced hybrid programming, improving the experience for those attending both virtually and in-person. These changes will result in a more flexible space to better serve children and teens, as well as adults.


Along with increased versatility, a transformed Children’s Room will include structural changes making spaces more accessible and comfortable for everyone. Shelves will be lower and aisles comfortably widened for wheelchair access. Restrooms will be improved and the Children’s Service Desk reconfigured to better serve all individuals. Clear sight lines from the service desk to preschool play areas put people and safety first. New carpet, more appropriate lighting, appropriately sized furniture, and a dose of whimsy will make the space inviting.

In the Large Meeting Room, adaptable lighting will improve the experience of library patrons with sensory challenges. An updated hearing loop system will be installed to accommodate individuals with hearing loss. Additionally, the project allows an update to the lower level’s HVAC system, improving energy efficiency and helping Lexington meet its sustainability goals.
This transformation’s guiding principle? Make our library work for everyone!


To learn more go to:
To support ChiRP! go to:

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Theo Griffin – Music Unlimited

By Jane Whitehead



Meet Theo Griffin, baritone, composer, multi-instrumentalist, international band tour manager and music teacher, the latest addition to the ten-strong faculty of the Lexington Music School.
Since November 2021, Griffin, who lives in Somerville, has found a new musical home in a ground-floor studio at the Munroe Center for the Arts, where he creates his own music and teaches piano and composition. Named for the great Thelonious Monk, Griffin has a warm laugh and a mellow baritone that he deploys in multiple musical genres.

At Oberlin Conservatory he studied opera, while teaching bass guitar on the side, a dual track that has been a hallmark of his professional career. So, while he can delight a visitor with a snatch of Leporello’s Catalogue Aria from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, his most recent gig was playing cello and singing background vocals on jazz singer/songwriter and Blue Note recording artist Kandace Springs’ latest album. Since 2016 Griffin has toured internationally with Springs, acting as tour manager and assistant musical director.

Griffin shared some of his recent work, 31 songs composed in the month of January 2023, spurred by the “Jamuary” song-writing challenge. The invention of prolific songwriter Jonathan Mann, “Jamuary” is an invitation to write a song every day of the month, in the spirit of other creativity-sparking marathons like National Novel Writing Month and February Album Writing Month.

Generating a song every day is a tall order. But Griffin finds the calendar framework liberating. “These songs were waiting to be written,” he said. “Good, bad or ugly, brilliant or kitsch and poppy, they wanted to come out!” He opened a color-coded list of his January output on his computer monitor. The songs are labeled Hip hop, R&B, Blues, Funk, Rock, Theatrical, Ballad, Dance, or hybrids of one or more genres.

Warning that this was a sketch, rather than a finished song, he played “one of the more artsy songs,” a ballad about lost love, called It Hurts. “It doesn’t matter if the world never hears that,” he said, “it’s for me.” Then he flipped the mood by switching to an upbeat pop number with a catchy refrain, Yum in the Sun, inspired by a chance conversation on a sunny January day when a woman asked him: “You getting any of this yummy sun?”

The joy of “Jamuary,” said Griffin, is that it pushed him to generate ideas for songs that he can develop and polish later. He reckons that more than half the songs will repay revisiting. “Right now, what I have here is a bunch of potential, so there’s plenty of work to be done,” he said.
Griffin traces his musical foundation to his boyhood in a mainly Puerto Rican and African American neighborhood of downtown Hartford, Connecticut. His first professional gig was as a ten-year-old boy soprano in the choir of Hartford’s

Episcopal Cathedral, thanks to a recommendation from his elementary school music teacher.
“I didn’t know what I was getting into,” he said, but the rigorous training he received, both in the choir and at summer schools run by the Royal School of Church Music on the Princeton campus, grounded him in fundamental musical skills and the discipline of performing to high standards. A string program for inner city schools introduced him to the cello, to the ridicule of neighborhood kids, who taunted him about his “big-ass violin.”

Epp Sonin, soprano and founder of the Lexington Music School, heard Griffin perform at Flora Restaurant in Arlington in 2012, when he gave a song recital spanning centuries, by composers from Monteverdi to Charles Ives. In a recent phone conversation Sonin said that she was struck by the joy and energy he brought to music making. When Griffin was looking for studio space, she saw him as an excellent fit for the school’s ethos of combining musical excellence with fun and enjoyment. “He’s a fine musician,” she said, “able to give his students an eclectic kind of course,” and, equally important, “a great guy, who just oozes enthusiasm.”

As a teacher – he offers lessons in voice, piano, bass guitar and composition – Griffin aims to take his students “beyond the notes.” For example, for a piano student working on a Spanish piece originally written for guitar, to give context and a sense of emotional color, Griffin will play flamenco music and ask, “do you hear the pulse of this, do you hear the depth of it?”

In teaching composition, Griffin reaches back to the classical tradition, showing how composers like J.S. Bach could “do a thousand things with a simple theme.” Then he guides students to apply that learning to a contemporary context, like a film scenario, prompting them with questions: “What’s the mood here? What key are you going to write in? Is the music full or sparse?”

Whatever the lesson, said Griffin, his job is to reach students wherever they are in their musical journey and help them find the balance of discipline and sheer delight in music that fuels his own practice. As he said, “I’m deeply serious about my work, but not so serious that I can’t write Yum in the Sun!”



You can find Theo at The Lexington Music School, a musician’s collaborative, founded in 1985 by Director Epp Sonin. Lessons and workshops are given by highly qualified and dedicated teachers. To learn more:


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Holi Festival Rescheduled for June 4th

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Lexington Pops Chorus Spring Concert – May19&20

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Youth Counseling CONNECTION: Teens Under Pressure

In the post-pandemic world, Lexington’s Youth Counseling Connection is a vital voice promoting mental well-being in Lexington.

By Jane Whitehead


Above Left to Right the YCC Board and Staff: Nicole Manetta (Intern), Jon Suber, Emily Hayes, Jamie Katz, Bea Mah Holland, Linda Bartlett, Yvonne Lu, Betsey Weiss, Anne Khudari, Connee Counts, Bill Blout.

Steps across from the Battle Green, housed in the lower level of historic First Parish Church, are the offices of Lexington’s Youth Counseling Connection (YCC). Since opening its doors in 2012, this community-supported nonprofit has helped troubled Lexington teens and their families with free, confidential counseling and outreach services.

As YCC – originally known as Lexington Youth and Family Services (LYFS) – celebrates its tenth anniversary, those services will likely be more in demand than ever. Surveys of high school students’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic show a significant increase in the social, academic, emotional, and economic pressures faced by students nationwide.

In a study released in March 2022 by CDC, more than a third of high school students reported suffering poor mental health during the pandemic, with 44 per cent reporting persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness, figures that were even higher among lesbian, gay and bisexual youth, and young women.

Calling these data “a cry for help,” CDC Acting Principal Deputy Director Debra Houry, M.D., M.P.H., noted that CDC research also shows that “surrounding youth with the proper support can reverse these trends and help our youth now and in the future.”

A Safe Space for Teens

A safe place. YCC is located in the basement of First Parish.

Years before the pandemic, offering young people “proper support” was the mission that motivated YCC’s founders. In 2008, social worker Bill Blout and developmental psychologist Connee Counts headed a group of concerned Lexington citizens committed to tackling student stress after the annual Youth Risk Behavior Survey showed high levels of emotional distress, including depression and suicidal thoughts, among Lexington High School students. A cluster of teenage suicides in Needham added urgency to their efforts, said Blout.

To realize their vision of an accessible, confidential, independent drop-in counseling service, with no insurance or out of pocket payments required, the group needed premises in the town center. For a small community start-up, funded largely by private individual donations, market rents were out of reach. The generosity of First Parish in making space available free of charge at its central location was crucial, said Counts, who with Blout still serves on YCC’s volunteer board of directors. She noted that YCC operates completely independently of the church.

YCC is also independent of the town, though its original name led many to believe wrongly that it was a town-funded service, said Counts. In 2021  YCC seized the opportunity to rebrand with a new name and logo.

“We changed our name to really demonstrate what our priorities are,” said YCC co-chair and independent clinical social worker Anne Khudari. Khudari joined the YCC board in 2016, motivated by a “passion for mental health concerns and the promotion of positive mental health messages in the community.” She noted that YCC has evolved since its founding to become a force for advocating “mental wellness for all,” by “making connections within the community, with kids, with parents, and with town personnel.”

According to the YCC website (, since 2012 the organization has provided more than 1,000 therapy sessions and 2,500 drop-in hours to local youth and families, all free of charge, and an estimated 3,500 individuals have participated in free therapy services, group support, presentations, and community projects, thanks to financial support from the Lexington community.

Pandemic Impact

On a chilly winter morning, YCC Executive Director Emily Hayes welcomed a visitor to the organization’s snug offices, where in-person services are restarting after the pandemic hiatus. Hayes is a certified art therapist and licensed mental health counselor with nine years’ experience working with young people and their families. She took the reins of YCC in 2019, just months before the pandemic upended every aspect of operations.

“YCC was founded ten years ago to give youth and their families a place to turn to when they needed extra support, initially at a time when those supports were less available, but urgently needed,” said Hayes. Pre-pandemic, she said, everything was in person. “Kids would walk over from the high school to drop-in sessions,” she said. There were evening gatherings with games and art activities at the newly opened Queer Hang Space for LGBTQ+ youth, support groups for students and parents, and monthly meetings of the YCC board with an active and vocal Youth Advisory Board.

Hayes outlined the struggles that bring clients to YCC. They range from dealing with typical life stressors – fighting with siblings, not feeling able to communicate with parents, feeling isolated, dealing with social and academic pressure, figuring out where to go to college – all the way up to “I don’t want to be alive anymore,” she said. With training in trauma, family attachment, adoption, depression, anxiety, and suicide/self-harm, Hayes is well-equipped to give support across this broad range of needs.

When the pandemic hit in March 2020, YCC board member and LHS Dean for World Languages Linda Bartlett said she was “pretty impressed by how quickly they made a plan to shift to virtual,” and maintain threads of connection through the unprecedented upheaval. “Emily was brilliant,” said Khudari, as Hayes faced the challenge of moving individual clients over to Zoom and taking the support groups virtual. With in-person drop-in hours suspended for a couple of years, Hayes and the board pivoted to offering short-term solution-focused individual and family therapy, lasting up to 10-12 sessions, and when needed, help with referral to longer-term services.

The pandemic stoked demand for YCC services, said Hayes. “Last year we doubled the number of families we saw,” she said, “and this year we’re on track to move far past that.” And while the months of August and September have historically been quiet, in 2022, she said, “we walked in the door with six referrals and families starting right off the bat in August.”

“The biggest struggle right now is space and staff,” said Hayes. With a primary focus on individual and family therapy, and the resumption of in-person drop-in counseling, she also hopes to launch some new after-school groups for middle schoolers, who currently make up the majority of YCC’s caseload. “One of the biggest things I’ve seen, post-pandemic, is kids saying, ‘I don’t even know how to talk to people anymore,’” she said, “so there’s such a need for a space where kids can come together and just be.”

Peer Power

A major legacy of YCC’s first decade is the introduction of the nationally recognized youth suicide prevention program Sources of Strength (SOS), to Lexington schools. The program started at LHS in 2015 and expanded to the middle schools in 2019, when as Emily Hayes said, “the school system saw how effective and important it was to the high school.” The SOS model is based on peer-to-peer counseling, with adult guidance. Students are trained to identify peers struggling with depression and anxiety and connect them with trusted adults.

Several YCC board members act as advisors to SOS, including Linda Bartlett, executive coach and consultant Bea Mah Holland, and former YCC president Jamie Katz, who sees the program as empowering “the whole teen community to help themselves collectively.”  Many SOS peer leaders have also served on YCC’s Youth Advisory Board (YAB), creating a natural pathway to YCC’s professional support services.

Bill Gao was one of the first group of SOS peer leaders, who joined the YAB as an LHS sophomore in 2016. Gao went on to study psychology and business at the University of Pennsylvania and now works in market research for a small Boston-based company. Even in middle school, he said, he was acutely aware of the pressures on some of his friends, and at LHS he was struck by “this sense of high-function depression, high-function anxiety,” and by the number of people who seemed to be doing fine but “on the inside, were going through really hard mental health issues.”

As a YAB member, Gao found the YCC board of directors “a group of the most incredible people I’ve ever met,” with their collective decades of experience as social workers, clinical psychologists, and community activists. Their joint meetings, he said, were “a collaborative space” in which the adult board members were committed to listening to and learning from the students. “They were excited to hear about our ideas. They were our biggest cheerleaders. They pushed us when they needed to. They gave us the courage that we needed, reinforcement when we needed it,” he said.

When recruiting SOS peer leaders at LHS, Gao remembered, “we tried to hit all racial groups, all activity groups, all club organizations, all grade levels.” By reaching out across a broad spectrum of the student body, he and his fellow YAB members recruited 50 peer leaders.

Rod Tavangar (LHS 2021) valued that diversity.  Now in his second year at Northeastern University, studying computer science, he joined SOS as a freshman, and enjoyed the monthly SOS meetings with an adult facilitator and between 30-60 students of all ages, who would split up into small groups for discussion. Given the high pressure at LHS not only to perform academically, but to engage in multiple extra-curricular activities and clubs, he found it “really liberating” to have a space where “the whole point was to sit back and reflect on how things were going.”


YCC Youth Advisory members participate in a brainstorming session.

“You become friends with people in different years, you get to hear their experiences and learn from them, you see that you’re not the only person dealing with these struggles,” said Tavangar. In his junior year, he was invited to join the YCC YAB, and like Gao, was impressed by “how much the adults on the board wanted to hear from us,” on everything from logistics of how and where to stage events at the school, to the design of the new YCC logo.

Current YAB members Sitara Mitragotri and Veronika Moroz, both LHS juniors, appreciate the return to in-person meetings. Through YAB, said Mitragotri, she has learned to focus on “giving students resources and a platform to understand how poor mental health impacts the entire community, rather than just individuals,” and she would like to see YCC expand its reach into elementary schools, “to show young students why it’s important to care for themselves,” and to bring mental health promotion to a wider community.

“It’s really fun – there’s such a sense of community – and you can joke around, not like on Zoom,” said Moroz, who joined the SOS program in seventh grade at Diamond Middle School. “We brainstorm what might be bothering people around us, and how we can help,” she said. In a culture where “everyone is trying to show how competitive and strong they are,” she said, people can be afraid to reach out for help, and one of the key roles of the YAB is to spread the word that there are adults who really care, and that teens need not feel alone with their struggles. As YCC charts a new path in the post-pandemic world, that core message is more urgent than ever.


How do kids and families access YCC services?

YCC Clinical Services are accessible, free, and confidential.
  • Available to youth age 12-22 and their families
  • No fees or insurance needed
  • Crisis intervention drop-in hours and short-term therapy
After the COVID hiatus, Youth Drop-in hours are back!
  • Our drop-in center is open on Wednesdays from 3:00-4:30 p.m. at our location inside First Parish Church, 7 Harrington Road, Lexington. During this time, young people or families can walk in and have immediate access to a therapist
  • The fastest way to access clinical services is to submit our referral form online, found at the bottom of our clinical services page:
  • Our office phone is 781-862-0330 but we are currently not on site every day so the best way to reach us for non-emergency questions is by email,
Visit the YCC website:

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LexSeeHer Exhibit Opens

LexSeeHer’s mission is to make women visible. Their 2023 collaborative show at LexArt goes beyond visuals, adding sound, texture and poetry to help gallery visitors appreciate the contributions made by Black women across 300+ years of Lexington history.

Amelia Worthy shares, “this is my third year working with LexSeeHer, and our second year curating an installation at LexArt. It was wonderful to see so many people come through the gallery last year. I hope that as people come in to see the student work, the hand-sewn Dress for Margaret, and all of the aprons, I hope that visitors will have some of the same feelings that I had when I joined the group and got into the history of these women; I could just feel them in my soul.”
One of these historic women is Margaret Tulip, whose life and legacy were explored in the 2022 show. She lived in Lexington for about 75 years. In addition to growing up in town, marrying here and raising children, Margaret’s life invites visitors to grapple with the meaning of “freedom” and “liberty” in pre-Revolutionary years. Margaret was enslaved, then free, then re-enslaved, and eventually won her freedom back in a court suit known as a Freedom Suit.

The “Put Her On the Map: Then and Now” theme for this year’s installation follows women’s contributions across time, including several women included in the new “Something Is Being Done” monument that Meredith Bergmann is sculpting: Phebe Banister Burdoo, Margaret Tulip, Mary Elizabeth Miles Bibb, and Sylvia Ferrell-Jones.

Margaret Tulip first came to Lexington as an enslaved child and was given to Amos Muzzey and Esther Green as a wedding gift from Ester’s parents. Student illustrations help illustrate important moments in Margaret’s life from birth to adulthood. Research Team member Leslie Masson has spent the last two years researching Margaret Tulip’s life. “I initially volunteered to study and document Margaret Tulip’s freedom suit which she filed when she was in her mid-50s. But the project has expanded to looking into her mother’s life and that of Margaret’s descendants – including her son James’s own freedom suit. The exhibit includes examples of the records uncovered during my research. This past year I was able to locate and contact living descendants of Margaret – it is still an amazing experience each time I speak to them.”

Celeste Freeman, co-curator of the LexSeeHer installation, has been connecting with Margaret’s descendants, as well as other descendants who have ties to free and enslaved 18th century Black women from Lexington. Freeman adds, “We have been able to bring back some of the most loved items from last year, and thanks to descendants, there are new layers and voices to explore. These historic women have a living legacy. Their children’s grandchildren bring us into greater connection with each woman. Meeting each descendant has further underscored how important it is to bring these hidden stories forward. With the help of student artists, we also have visual ways to reflect on the unknown stories of Black women who were forgotten by time.”

The upcoming LexSeeHer exhibit at LexArt

This past year the LexSeeHer Research Team continued to grow, and volunteers have unearthed new information about Black women in Lexington. Team member Alexandra Moellman has focussed on Phebe Burdoo and her family. Margaret Micholet has been learning about Cate Chester and her family. The past year’s research efforts enrich the gallery in 2023 to make the trip exciting for returning and new visitors.

Jessie Steigerwald, co-curator and president of LexSeeHer, Inc., remarks that the show’s mixed-media approach offers a chance to blend visual arts, music, poetry and textiles with historical documents. She notes, “the interchange between art and history makes the gallery an engaging place. LexSeeHer is grateful to LexArt for giving us a home during Black History Month. Black women’s stories have received too little attention. LexArt gives our community a powerful space to help us literally ‘see’ women, celebrate their contributions, and take in the obstacles they have confronted.”



A Dress for Margaret
Artists help illustrate the lives of Lexington women from the 18th century forward. Here, student artist Hannah Sul presents Margaret Tulip Sewing. 
Artist: Hannah Sul
Photo: Nicole Mordecai


















VIRTUAL GALLERY PREVIEW – A Partnership between LexSeeHer, LexArt and the Cary Library Foundation
“Putting Black Women on the Map: Then and Now”

Scan Code to register

Virtual gallery event in conjunction with LexSeeHer’s installation at LexArt in celebration of Black History Month. Join this special LexSeeHer Speaker Series event to celebrate Black women in Lexington’s history from the 18th century forward. Learn more about the installation “Putting Black Women on the Map: Then and Now” with exhibit co-curators. The gallery space at LexArt brings our focus to the ongoing research taking place to document the lives of women in the 1700s, including Phebe Banister Burdoo, Cate Chester, and Margaret Tulip, who won her freedom in the courts in 1768.
Moving forward to 1843, we learn about Mary Elizabeth Miles Bibb, the first Black woman to graduate from the Normal School in Lexington. After graduating, Mary Elizabeth went on to become a teacher, abolitionist, journalist, author who helped publish “Voice of the Fugitive”, and founder of integrated schools in Canada – where she had fled with her husband following passage of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act.
Bringing us to the 21st century, the installation celebrates the life, passion and work of Sylvia Ferrell-Jones, attorney, business woman, and leader in the non-profit world who was committed to addressing racial and gender justice.
Hosted by co-curators, Amelia Worthy, Celeste Freeman, and Jessie Steigerwald, the evening will bring together special guests who helped contribute to the installation, including: descendants and family members of Margaret Tulip, Cate Chester, and Sylvia Ferrell-Jones; Elizabeth Pope, Curator of Books and Digitized Collections at the American Antiquarian Society; LexSeeHer Research Team members Alexandra Moellmann, Leslie Masson, Margaret Micholet, and representing LexArt, Mathew Siegel, Executive Director, and Wayne Davis, Board Chair.
Please register on the Cary Library website to participate.

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Story of a DO-er

By E. Ashley Rooney


Ethie Slate, President of the Friends of Cary Library, Toma Kiio (junior entrepreneur, and Faith Kiio, philanthropist/entrepreneur,  in the Friends of Cary Library’s office. There they have a special container for books for Kenya.

There are some of us who sit around and think. Then there are those who DO
Originally from Kenya, Faith Kiiio is a Lexington resident. She grew up in a village where access to food, water and other basic amenities was challenging. Unfortunately, that is still true today.

Faith says, “The first time I saw a dollar and realized how powerful the currency was, I decided I had to move to wherever the dollar was used. At the time, I had just completed high school with no prospects of continuing with education so I began going to the market to buy and sell cabbages: a business I started with 5 dollars approximately 500 Kenya shillings. I funded my move to the US and joined a nursing school, finally graduating with a bachelor’s in nursing.

“I got the opportunity to better my life, but many others did not and are stuck in a cycle of poverty. The only way to break the cycle is by promoting literacy. Books open up minds to possibilities and inspire the need to do and be better.” A former British colony, Swahili and English are Kenya’s official languages.

Faith began helping a few individuals and collecting books designated as free or near trash areas and sending them back to Kenya. Realizing that the job required more than one able-bodied person, she formed Faith Kenya Mission, a not-for-profit institution, to allow many to make a difference, break that cycle of poverty, and give young people a chance to flourish. More specifically, it increases the literacy rate by supplying books, provides water, conducts feeding programs, and addresses healthcare needs for communities.

Here in Lexington, the Friends of Cary Library receive many donations of books and runs profitable sales. During the pandemic, however, Cary Library was inundated with book donations. (You may recall that at one point they weren’t taking any because there was no more storage space.) Then Ethie Slate, President of the Friends of Cary Library, learned about Faith and her mission.

Concurrently, Faith’s daughter Tomi, who attends Maria Hastings, started a nonprofit student initiative, the One-student, One-book, One -dream movement through Faith Kenya Mission. One of the Mission’s goals is to put books in the hands of kids, teens, and adults to fight illiteracy. It has given books to local schools in Massachusetts, to homeless shelters, and to families who need them.

Faith thought it would take a year to fill a 40-foot container, but when Maria Hastings and Cary Library donated she was able to fill three, 40 ft shipping containers. Subsequently, she sent five more containers. This year it has sent 240,000 books to Kenya and traveled to over 45 schools there. She has nine more storage containers ready to go. The homeless help with the work, Faith happily says, “So Maria Hastings book drive and Cary Library gave Faith Kenya Mission the first seeds of growth and that means a lot to the people of Kenya.”

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LCA Funds The Arts Through Grants Program

There’s something for everyone in these Arts Programs around town!

By E. Ashley Rooney

This year will be a great one for the arts in Lexington. Lexington will hold the dynamic Dance Around the World this March and display whimsical Fairy Houses along the bike path, thanks to the Lexington Council for Arts (LCA). Moreover, the Council has awarded some exciting grants for this year.
One of the more fascinating projects that received a LCA grant is the Earth Day Awareness Sculpture to be built by Munroe Center for the Arts. With the recent emphasis on climate change and plastic proliferation, artists are creating powerful art works that remind us of the impact of our waste on our environment and stimulate us to consider our own lifestyles.

Hoping to build people’s awareness about the vast amount of plastic that humans ingest each year, the Center is planning to partner with Lex Zero Waste, to work with a local sculptor, and build sculptures filled with discarded plastic pots, yogurt containers, bottles etc. These sculptures highlight the importance of recycling and the damage plastics are having on our environment.

Generally, the backside of stores and office buildings are drab and dreary. But when they are adorned with a colorful mural, they can become quite thought-provoking. LCA is sponsoring Jill Strait, and artist who will create a Community Mural of musical instruments on the back of the Music Emporium facing the Minuteman Bikeway. It will be a treat for cyclists and walkers, encouraging everyone to slow down and admire their surroundings.
Of course, some of LCA’s grants went towards music in this musically diverse town. There will be Brass in the Grass from the Lexington Symphony, band Concerts at Hastings Park, and Harmony on the Green Coffeehouse.

There will be a concert of staged scenes from the worlds of Operetta/Musical Theater; Francis Hart will treat us to a cultural and historical reflection of the 1960s through the music of the Beatles; and Thomas Rull will take seniors on a musical journey through the years
Additionally, the LCA grants will provide music for the Lexington Bicentennial Band, fund art supplies for neurodiverse art classes in the Special Needs Art Program, help sponsor a May Day celebration, and support the popular Open Studios Weekend tours on May 20-21.
LCA will subsidize summer programs at Lexington Community Farm and help fund a juried exhibition of contemporary ceramics created by clay artists at LexArt. Seniors will do hip hop chair dances and celebrate the season.

LCA also plans to present another new event, Porchfest, this summer. What is Porchfest? Have you ever sat on your porch on a sultry summer evening and overhead someone strumming a guitar? Porchfest builds on this experience and amplifies it to become a community event where Lexingtonians share their love of music.
What could be nicer on a hot summer night? Maybe a cool drink to go with it?

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Saturday, March 18, 2023 at 8PM

Meghna Chakrabarti is the lively host and producer of National Public Radio’s On Point, a radio show produced by WBUR-FM in Boston and syndicated by American Public Media. Meghna has received journalism awards from the Associated Press and the Radio Television News Directors Association, among others.
Ms. Chakrabarti’s special brand of hosting involves highly informed and provocative dialogues with expert guests on topics ranging from the current news headlines to politics, the arts, health, technology and the environment.
The Alliance for Women in Media honored On Point’s episode “A Look Back at 1992 Los Angeles And America Since Rodney King” with a 2022 national Gracie Award for Best News Documentary. In 2021, On Point won a National Edward R. Murrow award for best news documentary for “What the President Knew,” a show that examined presidential decision-making before 9/11 and the COVID pandemic.
How does Meghna keep the ideas flowing and the discussion lively? Come and discover the science and the art of creating an engaging dialogue.

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