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Bits & Bytes: River Walk March for Science; Eric Foner at Simon’s Rock; David Sedaris at the Colonial; Carole Owens at Dewey Hall; Rabbi Israel Dresner to visit Pittsfield schools

Author, and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and Columbia University DeWitt Clinton Professor of History Eric Foner will deliver the 22nd annual W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture at Bard College at Simon’s Rock Thursday, April 12, at 7 p.m.

River Walk March for Science to promote science education, understanding

Great Barrington — In solidarity with the national March for Science in Washington, D.C., the Great Barrington Land Conservancy will present the River Walk March for Science Saturday, April 14, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Great Barrington River Walk’s W.E.B. Du Bois River Park.

The event will begin at 1 p.m. with an art station that will provide supplies for the creation of signs and banners to celebrate connection to the natural sciences. The march will begin at 2 p.m. at the park, proceed along Main Street to River Walk’s Main Street entrance upstream, and return to the starting point by following the River Walk trail along the Housatonic River. The event is family-friendly and all are welcome. Registration is suggested though not required for participation. For more information or to register, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact or


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Eric Foner. Photo: Daniella Zalcman

Eric Foner to deliver Simon’s Rock’s annual W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture

Great Barrington — Author, and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and Columbia University DeWitt Clinton Professor of History Eric Foner will deliver the 22nd annual W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture at Bard College at Simon’s Rock Thursday, April 12, at 7 p.m. The talk is titled “Du Bois, ‘Black Reconstruction,’ and the Significance of Reconstruction in American History.”

“I am delighted to deliver the Du Bois Lecture, partly because Du Bois was a friend of my family back in the 1940s and 1950s, but even more because his book ‘Black Reconstruction in America’ set the agenda that still shapes our understanding of that pivotal era,” said Foner. “Challenging the then prevailing interpretation of Reconstruction as a time of misgovernment caused by granting black men the right to vote, Du Bois saw it as a pivotal moment in the history of American democracy — the first attempt to establish biracial governments and to accord African Americans the same constitutional rights as whites. Its failure left these and other issues to future generations and we are still grappling with how to achieve Reconstruction’s goals.”

Foner received his doctoral degree at Columbia University under the supervision of Richard Hofstadter. He is one of only two people to serve as president of three major professional organizations — the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association and the Society of American Historians — and one of a handful to have won the Bancroft and Pulitzer prizes in the same year. In 2011, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in history for his book “The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery.” Foner’s publications have concentrated on the intersections of intellectual, political and social history, and the history of American race relations. His books include: “Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party Before the Civil War”; “Tom Paine and Revolutionary America”; “Nothing But Freedom: Emancipation and Its Legacy”; and “Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877.” Foner received the American History Book Prize in 2016 for “Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad.” His latest book, “Battles for Freedom: The Use and Abuse of American History,” a collection of essays from the Nation magazine, was published in 2017.

The talk is free and open to the public, but registration is required. For more information or to register, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact Simon’s Rock at (413) 644-4400 or


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David Sedaris. Photo: Ingrid Christie

Berkshire Theatre Group to present David Sedaris

Pittsfield — In association with the Bookloft, Berkshire Theatre Group will welcome best-selling author David Sedaris to the Colonial Theatre Friday, April 13, at 8 p.m.

Sedaris is the author of “Barrel Fever” and “Holidays on Ice” as well as “Naked,” “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” “Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim,” “When You Are Engulfed in Flames” and his most recent “Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls,” each of which became an immediate bestseller. The audio version of “Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls” received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Spoken Word Album. Sedaris’ pieces appear regularly in the New Yorker and have twice been included in “The Best American Essays.” He and his sister Amy Sedaris have collaborated under the name “The Talent Family” and have written half a dozen plays that have been produced in New York City at La MaMa, Lincoln Center and the Drama Department. His original radio pieces can often be heard on the public radio show “This American Life.” Since 2011, he has been heard annually on “Meet David Sedaris,” a series of live recordings on BBC Radio 4. Sedaris’ new book is a collection of his diaries titled “Theft By Finding, Diaries (1977-2002).” A forthcoming book of essays titled “Calypso” is set to be published in June and a second volume of diaries is expected in the summer of 2019.

Tickets are $40 and $65. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or call the BTG box office at (413) 997-4444.


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Carole Owens to give presentation at Dewey Hall

Carole Owens

Sheffield — On Friday, April 13, at 7:30 p.m. at Dewey Hall, the Sheffield Historical Society will present local historian and Berkshire Edge columnist Carole Owens for a lecture titled “The Men of the Sheffield Resolves.”

In 1773, 11 men were selected at a town meeting to write the Sheffield Resolves, which included a plan to deal with British authority over the Massachusetts colony. While the document lists American grievances against the British monarch, it does not suggest independence. But since Theodore Sedgwick, who wrote the Resolves, was also present in Philadelphia when the Declaration of Independence was written, it is logical to suppose that the Sheffield Resolves had some influence in the wording of that document. Owens will give a presentation about the men who became the “founding fathers” of Sheffield, such Col. John Ashley and Theodore Sedgwick, including photos of their Sheffield residences.

Owens grew up in Minnesota, where her mother took her to view open houses on Saturday afternoons.  She first came to the Berkshires as a weekender from New York City, where she had been a social work therapist, and relocated permanently in 1990. Curious about the former owners of the many local historic homes she had seen boarded up and deteriorating, she penned “Berkshire Cottages” in 1984, one of seven titles she has written. As the first director of Ventfort Hall in Lenox, Owens developed the Museum of the Gilded Age and worked to get the building on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2016, Preservation Massachusetts honored Owens with the Paul and Niki Tsongas Award, which “celebrates the success, leadership and accomplishments of Women in Preservation… who have played an extraordinary role in promoting the Commonwealth’s past for the benefit of the future.”

The program is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. For more information, contact the Sheffield Historical Society at (413) 229-2694 or


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Rabbi Israel Dresner to visit Pittsfield schools

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rabbi Israel Dresner. Photo courtesy Jewish Federation of the Berkshires

Pittsfield — Rabbi Israel S. Dresner, once dubbed “the most arrested rabbi in America,” will speak to student assemblies at Reid Middle School and Taconic High School Tuesday, April 10.

Dresner was the foremost rabbinic participant in the civil rights movement of the 1960s and one of three rabbis closest to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who spoke on two occasions at Dresner’s congregation in Springfield, New Jersey. Dresner was the first rabbi arrested during an interfaith clergy freedom ride in support of civil rights in 1961. He served for short periods as a prisoner on four occasions in Florida and Georgia from 1961 to 1964. One of his cases, Dresner v. City of Tallahassee, reached the Supreme Court. President Barack Obama honored him at the White House on the evening before the 50-year anniversary celebration of the March on Washington. He has been a rabbinic leader in the struggle against the war in Vietnam and for the rights of many minority groups.

Dresner will begin the day at 10 a.m. with Reid Middle School eighth graders. He will then participate in a panel discussion at 1 p.m. at Taconic High School with Rev. Sheila Sholes-Ross of the First Baptist Church of Pittsfield and attorneyTahirah Amatul-Wadud on the subject of “The Impact of Women and Religion on the Civil Rights Movement.” Taconic High School student Mikayla Moss and NAACP – Berkshire County Branch President Dennis Powell will moderate the discussion.

Though the assemblies are not open to the public, Pittsfield Community Television will film them for later broadcast.



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