Empty chairs and shocking headlines
FDNA members met in the beginning of 2014. Our first
event on the Avenue in the garden was a commemoration of those in our city who had been touched by violence. Empty chairs with newspaper headlines for each event bore witness.
Brockton High School students in the Summer of Work and
Learning Program learn about Frederick Douglass, and then
volunteer in the garden for two weeks weeding and rearranging the flower beds. Mr. Willie A. Wilson is our teacher. Class is held at the Brockton Public Library.
To generate community spirit, we create our own "Pop-Up" Outdoor Cafe at a local restaurant. They provide the food, we provide the tables, chairs and umbrellas.
About 20 FDNA members enjoyed traditional Jamaican food at the Paradise Caribbean Cafe - jerk chicken, oxtail, steamed cabbage and delicious rice and beans -- with warm cookies for dessert!
The Brockton Area Workforce WAVE program learns about Frederick Douglass and the Liberty Tree. For their summer volunteer program, they clean the area around the Liberty Tree site, research and design a new historical marker, and install the signage at the site. Helping2Unite Brockton keeps the garden weeded and watered; Stonehill College sends a dozen volunteers who paint the chain link fence and build our 'quilt star' patio; individual volunteers pick up trash, cut the grass, and relax with an early morning cup of coffee.
In August of 2014, FDNA hosted a "Neighborhood Stroll". Three downtown churches opened their doors for displays -- quilts at Central United Methodist, jazz at Messiah Baptist, and history at Assembly of God. Guests strolled the neighborhood and visited the churches at their leisure. Then all assembled at the Frederick Douglass Garden for speeches, poetry, music, the North Star Awards ceremony, and hot fudge sundaes. Over 150 people came to meet, mingle, and build community.
For the holiday season, FDNA volunteers staffed a "Gateway to History" stop on the annual Parade Day Treasure Hunt. Children came to our stop and met Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, and learned about Edward Bennett's stables, which was a stop on the Underground Railroad, right on the spot where the childrens' Treasure Hunt 'passports' were stamped, at the site of our Liberty Tree.
Later that month, FDNA hosted a Downtown Lantern Walk. First we geared up for safety with reflective vests. Along the walk, stops were made and stories were told at Edgar's Department store, site of the very first department store Santa; 224 Main, where Watt Terry, Brockton's first black millionaire, had his office in the early 1900s, at our live Christmas Tree on Legion Parkway, and of course in the Douglass Garden. At the end of the walk, the children hung their lanterns on the brick wall of the Garden as an art installation.