3/4/2009 - 03/31/09 - 05/09/09 :: Mattatuck Museum Arts & History Center present "Slavery in Connecticut: Fortune’s Story Lecture Series and Walking Tour"


144 West Main Street
Waterbury, Connecticut 06702

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ben Ortiz Gallery Talk 
Upcoming Events
A Message From Catherine  
On Saturday, May 9th the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra will perform with 120 voices from 3 outstanding Connecticut choirs and 2 nationally acclaimed soloists in the world-premiere of Fortune's Bones: The Manumission Requiem. This cantata, written by Ysaye Barnwell of Sweet Honey in the Rock and inspired by Marilyn Nelson's moving poem about the life and death of an African American slave, was 15 years in the making and started at the Mattatuck Museum with a community-guided research project.
The project, which centered around a skeleton left in the museum's care, brought together community leaders and organizations, anthropologists, archeologists and historians, the Poet Laureate of Connecticut, and an internationally renowned composer - all to discover who Fortune was and to honor his life. The outcomes of the project are significant: a clearer understanding of the life of slaves in Connecticut, a compelling museum exhibit, a moving poem, and a gripping cantata!
Help us honor Fortune's life. Learn his dramatic story at the lecture series and walking tour. Meet the author and composer. Attend the world premiere concert!
203-753-0381 ext.11

Slavery in Connecticut Lecture Series and Walking Tour

Fortune, BenderSlavery in Connecticut (Session 1)
University of CT - Waterbury
March 31, 2009 6:00 - 7:30
Connecticut became wealthy in the various "triangular trade routes." Colonial laws and regulations highlight racial views through the first centuries and the later economic developments of the 19th century. Learn about the origins and nature of slavery in Connecticut, the slave trade, and the economics of slavery. Presented by Karl Valois, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor of History, University of Connecticut-Torrington.
Fortune's Bones (Session 2) 
April 14, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Mattatuck Museum Arts & History Center 
Fortune's life experiences were written in his bones and are revealed through forensic anthropology. Learn from an anthropologist how Fortune's bones were examined and provided evidence about his early years, age, height, the kinds of work he did, and the injuries he suffered. Presented by Warren Perry, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology, Central Connecticut State University.
Fortune's World Walking Tour (Session 3)
April 25, 1:30 - 3:30 pm
Mattatuck Museum Arts & History Center 
Walk back to the 1700s when the Green was a swampy pasture surrounded by homes and churches. Visit the sites of Fortune's world, including Preserved Porter's farm, Fortune's house, the church Fortune was baptized in, the site where his skeleton was found, and the ancient Burying Ground. Hear the stories of Fortune and other early African American residents, as they achieve freedom or suffer through a life of slavery. Wear walking shoes and dress for the weather. Presented by Raechel Guest, Adjunct Professor, University of Connecticut-Waterbury.
Registration and Admission
Register in advance by calling the museum at 203-753-0381 ext 10.
Admission for museum and Osher Lifelong Learning Members is $25 for the 3-session course.
Admission for the general public is $10 per session.

Meet the Author - Meet the Composer!

  Marilyn Nelson  
Dr. Marilyn Nelson, author of Fortune's Bones: The Manumission Requiem, is a three-time National Book Award Finalist and recipient of numerous awards, including a Newbery Honor Award and Coretta Scott King Honor Award. She was the State of Connecticut Poet Laureate from 2001 - 2006.
  Ben Ortiz Gallery Talk
Dr. Ysaye Barnwell is a native of New York, now living in Washington, DC, she directs and performs with the internationally acclaimed a cappella quintet, "Sweet Honey in the Rock." She has composed and arranged music on more than 14 recordings.
Meet Dr. Marilyn Nelson, author of The Manumission Requiem: Fortune's Bones, who will read from her poem and discuss the literary motivation behind it, and Dr. Ysaye Barnwell, composer of the Fortune Cantata, as she offers insights and a musical context for her work.
Where & When
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
5:30 - 8:00 pm 
No admission charge.

World Premiere!

The Manumission Requiem: Fortune's Bones  
Stephen Salters
Join the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra for an evening celebrating the story of the African American slave who is known to many in Waterbury. Fortune was enslaved in Waterbury during the 18th century and his remains have taught the Greater Waterbury community (and the world) about life during this time.
The concert features the world-premiere of the cantata written by Dr. Ysaye Barnwell, entitled Fortune's Bones: The Manumission Requiem. The music, inspired by Marilyn Nelson's moving poem about the life and death of Fortune, was commissioned by the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra with assistance from the Woodward Foundation and the NEA. The poem was commissioned by the Mattatuck Museum and funded by the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism. In addition to this work for soloists, chorus and orchestra, the concert will explore the rich history and diversity of the Waterbury community, through music.
Performing with the orchestra are baritone Stephen Salters (pictured) and contralto Shannon Finney, along with 120 voices from 3 outstanding Connecticut choirs.
Where and When
Saturday, May 9, 2009, 8:00 pm
The Palace Theater
Tickets: $75, $50, $35, $20 and $10 (students)
Tickets discounted for museum and OLLI members.
Palace Box Office: 203-755-4700 or palacetheaterct.org