Underground Railroad historian to open ASMSA Science and Arts Café series

4 years ago

Editor's Note: Thursday's Science and Arts Cafe at the Superior Bath House featuring Underground Railroad historian Anthony Cohen has been postponed until 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20. Winter weather along the East Coast did not permit him to make it here for the original Feb. 13 date. Dr. Brian Monson, chair of ASMSA's Science Department, will present a Science and Arts Cafe Lecture titled "Radiation and Nuclear Power: Myths and Facts" on Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. at the bath house.


Anthony Cohen, a noted Underground Railroad historian, will open the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts’ Science and Arts Café series on Feb. 20.

Cohen will present a lecture titled “Unshackling History:  Recreating Experiences from American Slavery.” He will speak at 7 p.m. at the Superior Bathhouse Brewery at 329 Central Ave. in downtown Hot Springs. His appearance is sponsored through a grant from the Wagner Foundation. He will also speak at a student assembly at the school the next day.

Cohen is a fourth-generation descendant of a runaway slave, and his talk will recount his experiences re-enacting the Underground Railroad, including his journey inside a wooden crate, mailing himself to “freedom.”

In May 1996, Cohen embarked on a two-month journey in Sandy Spring, Md., that took him 1,200 miles by foot, boat and rail to his final destination in Amhertsburg, Ontario, Canada, according to the website for The Menare Foundation, which Cohen founded in 2000 to preserve the Underground Railroad’s history. He took a second journey in 1998, traveling from Mobile, Ala., to Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

In 1997, Cohen helped prepare Oprah Winfrey for her role as Sethe in the film “Beloved.” Winfrey spent two days living as a fugitive on a simulated Underground Railroad.

The Menare Foundation offers a variety of experiential education programs, lecture series, heritage tours and workshops for schools, community groups, corporations and other organizations at the Button Farm Living History Center in Seneca Creek State Park in Germantown, Md. The farm is dedicated to depicting 19th century slave plantation life.

The foundation also has a R.I.D.E. The Underground Railroad program that encourages communities to preserve important history related to the Underground Railroad.

The Science and Arts Café events will be presented in a relaxed atmosphere that will encourage those in attendance to participate in a discussion after the presentation. Admission is free, but seating is limited.

Other Science and Arts Café events include:

March 13: Anne Greenwood, ASMSA Humanities Department chair, and Dr. Brian Monson, ASMSA Science Department chair, “Painted Light: The Art and Science of Color.”

April 10: Beth and Jim Gourley, “Shooting Beijing’s China Central Television Building (CCTV): Using Photographs of an Architectural Icon to Benefit Tibetan Education.” Beth Gourley is ASMSA’s librarian and spent several years as a staff member in an English-language school in China.

May 8: Dr. Jim Luba, an ASMSA chemistry instructor, “The Pharmaceutical Industry and You.” Luba’s doctorate is in pharmacology. Prior to becoming an instructor at ASMSA, Luba worked as a researcher at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and the University of Florida School of Medicine in the area of mechanistic enzymology.

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