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A man who helped slaves escape


Dear Friends,

Good morning. Today, there’s not enough room to include my thoughts about President Trump’s attempt to buy Greenland from Denmark, alas. And should he win reelection in 2020, will his face replace one of the former Presidents (Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and T.R. Roosevelt) on Mt. Rushmore?

“I am not the chosen one,” he astonishingly said last week. And did he really say that he deserved the Medal of Honor? Good grief!

But first, here’s the skinny on the Pennsylvania Historic Marker dedication in Quakertown on 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14. All the events are on Main Street between 10th and W. Broad streets. McCoole’s will provide a bus to transport visitors to events along the route.

The dedication will be at the former home of Richard Moore, the Quaker educator and businessman who conducted a “station” on the Underground Railroad in the mid-1800s. He helped more than 600 slaves escape to Canada before the Civil War.

The marker dedication is at 1 p.m. at 401 S. Main. Entertainment will be provided by the Back Bench Boys from Doylestown and the St. Isidore’s School Choir. McCoole’s Arts and Events Center will hold a reception and refreshments; provide maps and an event program pickup point; the African-American Museum of Bucks County will show displays.

At the Richland Meeting House (Quaker) there will be tours of the Meetinghouse and school, the Great Oak and Richard Moore gravesite. United Friends School will give a presentation on Quakers and the fight against racism and slavery.

At the Richland Library there will be a book signing by local authors … Dr. Robert Leight, Librarian Thomas Moll and Kay Winters. Trish Chambers will show “The Legend of the Freedom Quilts” plus tours of the library’s current art collections and exhibits.

The Quakertown Historical Society will provide tours of the Burgess Foulke House, Liberty Hall and museum displays; a self-guided tour of Main Street’s historic homes and buildings; and the Main Street Art Gallery will be open for viewing.

I’ve read Bob Leight and Tom Moll’s new book, “Richard Moore and the Underground Railroad at Quakertown.” You’ll want to get a copy. It’s a bargain at $20.

And now to the mail box. Here’s an email that I received from Don Mikes, a Doylestown resident:

“So, Charles Meredith, there is no doubt in your mind that President Trump’s rhetoric inflamed the white supremacists who massacred 31 people in El Paso and Dayton,” Mike wrote.

“Have you not read the news accounts that reported the social media musings of the Dayton shooter? He described himself as a leftist and socialist who supported Elizabeth Warren. His communications lamented election of Trump, praised the violent actions of Antifa, and promoted virulent hatred of border enforcement. His tweets expressed the same anti law-enforcement sentiment often espoused by prominent Democrats. And in one tweet he wrote, “I want socialism and will not wait for idiots to come around to understanding.”

“All the facts have not emerged, but so far it hardly sounds like the profile of a white supremacist. It is difficult to view your analysis as anything other than biased, ill-informed, or simply sloppy. It’s a shame that this detracts from some of the other good points you make in the column.”

The second piece of mail came from Carol and Bob Wenger who read my column about Victor’s, a restaurant in South Philadelphia. Victor’s is unusual because the female and male waitstaff are professional opera singers. And boy, do they sing! The Wengers are Herald readers from Souderton. Here’s what they wrote:

“Our experience with Victor’s Cafe … several years ago, Esther and Arlin Shissler invited us to join them in celebration of their wedding anniversary. We went to Victor’s Cafe.

“Carol and I had never been there before so we were pleasantly surprised … delicious dinner … excellent entertainment … a fine evening.”

In their letter, they mentioned Esther and Arlin Shissler. Mighty Betsy and I used to sing with Esther Shissler in the Philadelphia Singers Chorale. The PSC was the Philadelphia Orchestra’s chorus for more than 10 years. Ah, what glorious fun that was.

Finally, MB and I saw “Maiden,” the documentary at The County in Doylestown. Don’t miss it. “You have to be a bit crazy,” a voice tells us. “The subjects are clearly different than normal sailors in that they’re the first all-female competitors to enter a sailboat into the Whitbread Around the World Challenge.”

“The Whitbread is no easy feat. It’s 33,000 nautical miles in total, most of which will be spent battling the Earth’s most plentiful and pissed off geographical resource, the ocean.

“No woman had ever led a ship to win the Whitbread simply because no women skippers had been allowed to enter it.”

I was fascinated by the footage. Monstrous waves battered the “Maiden” throughout the nine-month race in September 1989. While they didn’t win first place, they actually were victorious in one of the legs of the race.

If you get the chance to see this movie, by all means, do so.

Sincerely, Charles Meredith