Events

Upcoming Events

Douglass Day: National Transcription Project

Wednesday, February 14, 2024
12 – 3 pm for general public / 11 am – 3 pm for students
Lexington Depot, 13 Depot Square, Lexington

In Lexington, this free event will bring together high school students, local public historians, and other interested community members for a day of history, transcription, and fun.

Join us as we host the Lexington contingent for this national event, organized by the Douglass Day Organization and the Library of Congress. The annual Douglass Day program honors Frederick Douglass with an online crowd-sourcing transcription project intended to make primary Black history resources more widely accessible.

In 2024, this event will feature the Frederick Douglass Papers: General Correspondence, 1841 to 1912, in the collection of the Library of Congress. Participants will try to transcribe all 8,731 pages in a single day!

Sponsored by Lexington Lyceum Advocates, the Association of Black Citizens of Lexington (ABCL), the Lexington Historical Society, the Lexington High School Social Studies Department, and the Lexington High Steam Team

Past Events

Lexington Community Center, Room 237
Drop in – learn about what we are up to and how you can get involved!
Questions? info@lexlyceum.org

Lexington Lyceum Open House: Feb 7, 7pm

Lexington Candidates Forum

Saturday, February 3, 2 PM
Lexington Community Center, 39 Marrett Road, Lexington
Co-sponsored by IGIG, ELCA, JBPLex, and CALex

Come hear from Lexington candidates for the March 7 election!
You can submit advance questions for the candidates via this Google form.

Community Conversation Series: How Much Affordable Housing Do We Need?

Tuesday, January 30, 2024, 7 pm
Follen Church Community Center, 755 Massachusetts Ave, Lexington
Co-sponsored by the Lexington Observer
Register now

What is “affordable housing”? Who uses it and why do we need it in Lexington? How will the actions we take as a Town impact our community and the broader housing crisis in Massachusetts?

The evening’s panelists will answer these questions from a personal, Town, and State perspective and then invite you to consider how much affordable housing Lexington needs.

Moderator: Representative Michelle Ciccolo (15th Middlesex)
Panelists: Chris Kluchman, Acting Director, Community Services Division, Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (EOHLC); Tiffany Payne, Lexington Resident and Affordable Housing Advocate; Elaine Tung, Chair, Lexington Affordable Housing Trust; and more.

Historian David Blight will explore Frederick Douglass’s role as a prose poet of democracy, from his transformation as an advocate of the proslavery Constitution to the antislavery Constitution in the 1850s and how he interpreted the revolutionary transformations of emancipation and Reconstruction.

Blight is Sterling Professor of History and Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University. He is the author of several highly acclaimed books, including Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory and Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, which won the Pulitzer Prize in history. Copies of Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom will be available for sale and signing at the event.

Sponsored by Lexington Lyceum Advocates, the Association of Black Citizens of Lexington, and the Lexington Historical Society

Deck the Halls: Female Abolitionists and Christmas

Monday, December 11, 7 pm
Follen Church Sanctuary, 755 Massachusetts Avenue
Ken Turino, Historic New England
View the recorded event

New England’s female abolitionists in the first half of the nineteenth century played a large role in the development of modern American Christmas traditions. These abolitionists, led by Maria Chapman, hosted anti-slavery society Christmas Fairs – one of the earliest traditions associated with Christmas. It was at these fairs that most Americans in the first half of the nineteenth century encountered a Christmas tree. These fairs had a wide-ranging influence on our current customs, including the use of greenery in decorating and gift giving in America. Women, including Lexington sisters Julia and Ellen Robbins, promoted abolitionism while creating goods for sale as well as organizing the fairs. This helped move women out of the designated domestic sphere of the home (not without controversy) into the economy. All of this would forever change the role of women in society and how we celebrate Christmas.

This event is co-sponsored by the Lexington Lyceum Advocates and LexSeeHer.

Questions? Email events@lexlyceum.org

Quilt with a multicolor star pattern

The January 2, 1837, issue of The Liberator, Boston’s abolitionist newspaper, described articles that had been for sale at a recent Anti-Slavery Fair. Included was a description of this quilt, made of patchwork in small stars. It was probably made by abolitionist Lydia Marie Child. Courtesy Historic New England

Staying Curious and in Community When the Conversation is Tough: an Interactive Workshop

Wednesday, November 8, 7-9 PM
Lexington Community Center, Rm 242
John Sarrouf, Co-Director, and Maggie Herzig, Sr. Associate Emerita, Essential Partners

Many of us have the experience of being pulled into arguments that feel destructive to our relationships and not helpful to understanding others or feeling understood.  There are dynamics – both internally and externally – that keep us stuck in those patterns.  Luckily, there are tried and true methods to disrupt those patterns and create openings for conversations that promote understanding and maintain or build genuine connection. This interactive workshop will help you notice and disrupt destructive patterns and find ways to stay curious and connected in your community.

Lexington Lyceum Open House

Thursday, November 2, 7-8:30 PM
Hancock Church Conference Room, 1912 Massachusetts Ave

WE NEED YOU!

Want to meet the people who’ve been planning all these events?

Have ideas about what issues and history the Lyceum should talk about? 

Come to the Lexington Lyceum open house! We’ll have snacks and conversation to share. You’ll learn about plans for the Ellen Stone Building and the Lexington Lyceum, and have a chance to sign up to help out.

Spirits of Robbins Cemetery

Saturday, October 28, 2-3 PM; rain date Sunday, October 29
Meet at the Ellen Stone Building, 735 Mass Ave, Lexington

Lexington’s Robbins Cemetery is full of spirits: the spirit of free speech, the spirit of abolition, and the spirit of capitalism. Join Jeff Howry, PhD, to explore East Lexington’s lively past and the 66 documented graves dating from 1792-1898 containing the Robbins, their relatives, and a few unexpected guests.

Why can’t we talk to each other?
A conversation on civil discourse, extremism, polarization, bias, and our town.

Tuesday, October 24, 7-8:45 pm
Lexington Community Center, 39 Marrett Road

Join us as expert panelists discuss how divisions develop – on the national and local level – and how to promote a culture of open, respectful communication in Lexington and beyond. Learn how improving civil discourse allows us to approach difficult topics to build healthier relationships and a more connected community.

This event is co-sponsored by the Lexington Observer and the Lexington Human Rights Committee.

East Village Fair and Porchfest!

10am-6pm, Saturday, September 30
Next to the Ellen Stone Building – 735 Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington

Come visit the LLA booth at the 185th East Village Fair from 10am-3pm, then stay for Porchfest on the Ellen Stone Building Porch!

We’ll have coloring books for the kids, info about the building, and Ellen Stone herself for selfies.

Porchfest Lineup

Playing on the Ellen Stone Building lawn! (735 Mass Ave, Lexington)

1 PM: Ragtag Pickers

Players from the band Cousin Louis playing an eclectic mix of roots, blues, Americana, and rock covers and originals. Listen to a recording of Cousin Louis at Arlington Porchfest

2 PM: Noble Dust

An Indie-Americana trio with guitar, piano, and trumpet, this band plays lyrically-driven progressive folk pop, blending ethereal vocal harmonies with intricate horn and string melodies. Watch their video “A picture for a frame.”

3 PM: Kota

An acoustic trio from New Hampshire playing original and folk-rock covers with exquisite vocal harmonies.

4 PM: Half Fast Ramblers

A nine-piece old-time ensemble playing traditional old-time Appalachian string band music, with both tunes and songs. This group plays together regularly at the Burren.

5 PM: High Maintenance Jug Band

The High Maintenance Jug Band plays toe-tappin’, finger-snappin’, back-slappin’ good timey music like you would have heard on the streets of Memphis in the 1920s/30s. After the last porches wrap up, meet up for a special performance by High Maintenance Jug Band to wrap up Lexington’s first Porchfest!

The Anti-Slavery Women of the Ellen Stone Building and Elsewhere

The 1830s was a time of democratic “freedom’s ferment” in America–expanded voting rights and reform of many kinds won the decade the label “the age of the common man.”

The Ellen Stone Building opened in 1833, founded by the Robbins family. It was intended to be a “Lyceum” where speakers would educate the populace with the ideals of the new American democracy. . But. the women of the Robbins family were, prohibited from speaking in public, voting, or taking part in politics. Hannah, Abigail, Ellen, Julia Robbins, and in the next generation Ellen Stone, took small but significant steps towards changing the status quo. . The women of the Ellen Stone building became part of the “great silent army” that made the anti-slavery movement grow from an endangered small group in the 1830s to a stronger factor in politics by the 1850s. 

How did the Robbins & Stone women fit into the history of the anti-slavery movement and who were the bi-racial leaders and persuasive writers who pulled them into this movement? Learn how the Ellen Stone building became one of the few places where anti-slavery lecturers like Lucy Stone and Senator Charles Sumner could speak out freely against a cruel, but profitable, institution. This is one of the many reasons that the Ellen Stone Building is a national historical treasure.

Tour led by Kathleen Dalton, PhD

Abolition, Stones, and the East Lexington Fur Factory:
the Robbins Family’s Era

5-6 PM, Thursday, August 17
Meet in front of the Stone Building (735 Mass Ave)

Why was the Ellen Stone Building constructed, and who made East Lexington into an industrial powerhouse? Meet the Robbins family, builders of the Ellen Stone Building and its historic lyceum, and learn about their dynamic relationship with abolitionism and other 19th-century reform movements. Learn about the significance of the Lyceum, and East Lexington’s first businesses, and why Ralph Waldo Emerson spoke at the Lyceum 60 times.

Led by Kathleen Dalton, historian, biographer, and Lexington Lyceum board member. This accessible event will run for about an hour and will include travel for short distances on paved sidewalks. 

Lemonade Social

6-8 PM, Thursday, August 17
Follen Church Patio (755 Mass Ave.)

Come to the Follen Church patio for light refreshments, conversation and games for the whole family, from cornhole to Bananagrams!

Co-sponsored by the Lexington Lyceum Advocates and Follen Church.

Questions? email events@lexlyceum.org!