The Jewish Federation Connecting with Community series will screen A Trumpet at the Walls of Jericho: The Untold Story of Samuel Harrison, the story of a 19th century visionary (and freed slave who lived in Pittsfield) who fought prejudice, slavery and war.
The Samuel Harrison House at 82 Third Street in downtown Pittsfield is on the National Register of Historic Places. Built about 1850, it was for many years the home of Samuel Harrison,a prominent African American minister and a giant of his time in the civil rights and anti-slavery movement. He was born a slave in 1818 (he and his mother were freed in 1821) and lived until 1900, crossing paths with many of the great figures of the 19th century, including John Brown, Frederick Douglas, Mark Hopkins, and Herman Melville.
During the Civil War, Harrison served as chaplain of the famed Massachusetts 54th Regiment commanded by 26 year old colonel Robert Gould Shaw, the first all black infantry to fight in the conflict. The exploits of this unit were dramatized in the movie Glory. Harrison also went head to head with Abraham Lincoln over equal pay for blacks serving in the Union Army, and won - in 1864, Congress granted equal pay for the 180,000 blacks who fought on the side of the North.
Harrison left an impressive record of years of dedicated service, and his words provide an insight into the thoughts and aspirations of African-Americans during a critical era of American history. The film is narrated by the late Ossie Davis, his final completed project before his death.
Please note: The film will begin at 10:45a.m., break for lunch before noon, continuing after lunch. The film's running time is 2 hours.
This free program is part of the Federation’s Connecting With Community Series and will be followed by a kosher hot lunch. Lunch is a $2 suggested donation for adults over 60 years of age or $7 for all others. Advance reservations are required for lunch and can be made by calling (413) 442-2200 before 9 a.m. on the day of the program.