Toni Morrison Society to Place Five New Benches This Spring

Bench by the Road Project - Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, July 2008

This spring the Society will add five new Benches to the Bench by the Road series. The first bench placed will be on April 10th, at the Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University, in honor of the 100th Birthday of poet and novelist Margaret Walker Alexander. Two benches will also be placed in Middletown, Delaware, on April 17th, the first of which will honor Samuel D. Burris, a well-known Underground Railroad conductor in the State of Delaware, and the second will memorialize the family of Samuel and Emeline Hawkins,who, like many families escaping slavery by traveling through Delaware, were helped by Burris to gain their freedom. The Delaware Benches are sponsored by the Middletown Historical Society and the Appoquinimink Friends Meeting. On May 18th, the Nyack Commemoration Committee of Nyack, New York, will place a bench in honor of Cynthia Hedsra, who after gaining her freedom from slavery became a conductor on the Underground Railroad as well as a prominent business woman.. On March 14th, the Nyack Commemoration Committee will open an exhibit examining the lives of both Cynthia Hesdra and Toni Morrison, who is also a resident of Nyack. In addition, they will hold a number of programs and educational events leading up to the bench placement to honor Cynthia Hedsra. Finally, On May 17th, the Friends of Hosanna Church at Lincoln University will place a bench to commemorate the 172-year old Hosanna African Union Methodist Protestant Church in Chester County, Pennsylvania. The Church, where Sunday services are still held, is the only surviving building of the antebellum community of Hinsonville, a farming village founded by free Blacks in the 1800s. The Church was an important site on the Underground Railroad, and sits in front of Lincoln University. Continue to check the website for more information about these upcoming the Bench Placement ceremonies.