Monday, January 23, 2006

No Place for Hate Community Dinner

On Saturday, February 18th, we will host a "Community Dinner" celebrating Harwich as our "Beloved Community" from 6-9pm at the Harwich Community Center on Oak Street. We invite everyone to bring one of their most "beloved" family recipes, to share with others, while we share ideas about ways we may become more fully the beloved community we all desire. On Valentine's Day we would like to take a collection at town coffee shops, Stop & Shops, Shaws, Dunkin Donuts, the Corner Store, Wild Oats, Ay Caramba!

As an action of care for members of our community, we are taking a collection up in Chase & Sanborn Coffee Cans to replenish the Caleb Chase Fund. This fund assists residents of Harwich in need of help with utility bills. Although we have been blessed with periods of moderate temperatures, energy costs continue to burden many families beyond their means.

The Chase Fund which is administered by the Harwich Board of Selectmen, was a gift from West Harwich's own Colonel Caleb Chase, who was the founder of Standard Brands Chase & Sanborn Coffee company. Upon his death in 1908, the Chase Family bequeathed to the town $10,000.00 to be used "for support of the poor". In recent years the Chase Fund had to be limited to helping with utility costs for folks who are in economic hardship. So on the week of Valentine's Day, open your heart for the price of a cup of coffee to your neighbors and Chase to Cold Away!

Meet the Press January 19, 2006

No Place for Hate
Harwich Oracle Editorial
Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Harwich took an important step this week when it formally adopted the Anti-Defamation League's No Place for Hate position, joining more than 50 other Massachusetts towns that already have done so. Every resident and elected official ought to point with pride to the proclamation that was read on the steps of town hall Monday.

That some would oppose the action is baffling. Selectman Peter Piekarski's criticism of the ADL is widely known; he made public his opinion of the league some weeks ago. In voting against the No Hate program, he predicted some would call him a racist or a bigot. We won't do that, but we will call him misguided, or perhaps just misinformed.
We don't consider the ADL a "controversial" political action group, as the selectman calls it. It's a human rights advocacy organization.

The league was founded in 1913 "to stop, by appeals to reason and conscience and, if necessary, by appeals to law, the defamation of the Jewish people." Its doctrine says, and its actions during the past 96 years illustrate, that its intent is to secure justice and fair treatment for all citizens.
That's controversial?
It's unfortunate that it took the defacing of a road sign, with a swastika, to prompt the town's affiliation with the ADL's No Hate campaign. But reaction is better than no action.

For readers who didn't brave Monday's cold temperatures to participate in the town hall event, here's the position statement Harwich adopted on your behalf:

Whereas:We recognize the diversity and issues of diversity in our community, and encourage our residents to foster a spirit of understanding and respect for all peoples, and

Whereas:The safety, well-being and respect for all our citizens is essential in our growing community, and

Whereas:We invite full participation in all our community affairs and respect, support, and encourage people of every race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, age, and physical and mental ability to join with us in building a community of respect.

(Those who may wish to read and sign this may do so in the lobby of Town Hall, and at the Harwich Community Center lobby.)

Proclaiming respect in Harwich
By Douglas Karlson/
Wednesday, January 18, 2006

It’s official. There’s no place for hate in Harwich.

A few dozen town residents braved frigid temperatures Monday to participate in a public ceremony on the steps of town hall, where a proclamation was read designating Harwich a "community of respect for all people."
"We must be the first responders to hate," said John Bangert, who has taken the lead in organizing the "No Place for Hate" movement in Harwich. The movement gained momentum last fall after a swastika was painted on a road sign near the bike path

During his remarks on the legal holiday honoring civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., Bangert recalled Captain Jonathan Walker, a Harwich native who in 1844 helped fugitive slaves in Florida. He was imprisoned and branded on the hand with the initials "S.S." for slave stealer. As the "man with the branded hand," he gained national fame as a champion of freedom.

Monuments to Walker have been erected in Michigan and Wisconsin, but despite a commemorative plaque in the garden at Brooks Park, Harwich has not done enough to memorialize its native son and vocally embrace his cause of freedom, implied Bangert.

But the message was loud and clear Monday. Chairman of the board of selectmen Ed McManus read the proclamation, and invited others to add comments, which were kept brief owing to the piercing cold.
"Do not let Martin Luther King’s dream die," said the Rev. Evelyn Lavelli of Pilgrim Church.
Youth chaplain Lynn Snow said the Harwich Clergy Association voted last week to endorse the proclamation. She quoted Mother Theresa. "We can do no great things, only small things with great kindness."
A number of Harwich High School students turned out. Jessica Comeau spoke for them. "We think this is a really, really good idea," she said.

Andrew Crosby, a junior at Harwich High, said he attended "because I feel for Martin Luther King. He died before he saw [his dream realized]. I came here to support the town." "It’s a starting point," said Police Chief William Mason, who was one of the first to sign the proclamation. "It’s not just the idea we are for one day sitting out there saying hate and violence are inappropriate ... it has to be a way of thinking. It has to be a mindset as opposed to a one-day event."
"I think it’s good for the town," observed Ray Gottwald, Harwich’s representative to the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates after the event. "We have a very diverse town, actually one of the most diverse on the Cape, and I think it sends the message that discrimination will not be tolerated."

No Place for Hate is a program developed by the Anti-Defamation League. It is intended to fight hate and bigotry. According to literature from the league, to become certified as an official No Place for Hate municipality, a town must form a committee, sign the official proclamation, and make a public statement that the town will actively "promote respect while taking a stand against bigotry, prejudice and hate of any kind." The town must then complete at least three activities that promote the ideals of the program, such as hate-crime training for police and essay contests in school.

Residents Turn Out To Sign Proclamation Of Respect

by William F. Galvin

HARWICH --- Approximately 60 people withstood the bone-chilling temperatures on Martin Luther King Day Monday to participate in the No Place For Hate Harwich Proclamation of Respect signing by selectmen and local residents.

“I knew we’d always overcome,” Board of Selectmen Chairman Ed McManus said of efforts to, as the proclamation states, “foster a spirit of understanding and respect for all peoples.”
No Place For Hate signing

Resident Ed Donovan pens his name to the Proclamation of Respect outside Town Hall on Monday as residents wait in freezing temperatures to endorse the No Place For Hate Harwich proclamation.
People in town knew it was something they had to do to demonstrate that bias and bigotry are not the moving force in this community, but rather that respect is the driving force, McManus said. This day and adoption of the proclamation are a first step in that direction, the selectman said.

Efforts have been underway for nearly two months to have Harwich declared a No Place For Hate community through a program sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League and Massachusetts Municipal Association, joining approximately 60 municipalities in the commonwealth.

The Harwich project was born of an act of hatred and anti-Semitism and its overt display in the form of a swastika painted on a roadway sign on Route 39 in Harwich Center in late November.

Police Chief William Mason said on Monday his department has not found the culprit of the act and the best information they have received is it was an act involving kids, but no particular name was attached to that information.

“We’re lucky there have been no replications,” Mason said.

He also called Monday’s ceremony a good first step, saying Harwich is not a hateful community, but people do have to examine their philosophy of dealing with each other and it is a good idea to come together and talk.

“Hurricane Katrina opened our eyes to the facts that we must be our own ‘first responder’ to racism and hate,” John Bangert, coordinator of the event said. “We saw a failing government response to its people.”

Bangert reached deep into the town’s history to recognized Captain Jonathan Walker on this holiday for his efforts to combat slavery from the 1840 to 1870s. There are monuments to Walker in Wisconsin and Michigan and only a little plaque in front of Brooks Academy Museum , Bangert said.

Captain Walker was branded with “SS” on his hand, which stood for slave stealer. Bangert said the branding was understood in the Walker family as representing “slave savior.”

“I know of no language adequate to express my feeling of abhorrence of a government like this professing republican democracy and Christianity, while practicing such barefaced, cold heart villainy upon the people at the people’s expense from year to year, asking advantage of the weak and inoffensive,” Bangert said Walker had once said.

McManus, a member of No Place For Hate Harwich organizing committee, read the Proclamation of Respect crafted by the committee and approved by selectmen. It proclaims recognition of diversity in the community and encourages residents to foster understanding and respect. It identifies safety, well-being and respect as essential ingredients of the community. It further invites full participation in community affairs, encouraging people of every race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, age, and physical and mental ability to join in building a community of respect.

Several members of the clergy spoke. Harwich Youth Chaplain Linnea Snow said the clergy association voted last Wednesday to endorse the No Place For Hate Harwich program.

Several people in the audience also spoke. David Agnew of South Chatham , with an “Impeach Bush” button on his cap, urged those present to speak out against the “illegal war” in which the United States is now involved. He said Martin Luther King would have had something to say if he were alive today.

Jessica Comeau, who was selected from more than a dozen youth present, thanked people for coming together and being involved in the Proclamation of Respect. People then lined up to sign a version of the proclamation.

It was a hearty group in attendance, with temperatures hovering around 25 degrees and winds howling above 30 knots.

“I think it’s a testament to the hard work we’ve done that we got this many people out in this weather,” Susan Leven said. Leven was one of the first people to observe the defaced sign in late November and reported it to the police department. “I hope the interest continues.”

The committee, which is charged with educating people in Harwich against intolerance and fostering respect, was scheduled to begin that task in a meeting Tuesday.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Meet Harwich's Captain Jonathan Walker and his decendents

Prisoner Capt. Jonathan Walker in the pillory having his face smashed, before be branded by a Florida Federal Judge!

Jonathan Walker (was born on Cape Cod in Harwich) was a Florida resident (who later) moved (back) to Massachusetts to separate himself from the institution of slavery. He returned to Florida three years later and attempted to help seven slaves, formerly in his employ, to escape. He was captured and tried in the Superior Court of Escambia County, in the District of West Florida, Territory of Florida. On being convicted, he was pilloried, pelted with rotten eggs, imprisoned for eleven months, fined, and branded on the hand branded by a U. S. Marshal with the letters “S.S.” which stood for “slave stealer.” This episode was the inspiration for John Greenleaf Whittier’s abolitionist poem, The Branded Hand.

This is a picture taken by Harwich High School's, History Chair, Richard Houston, The Capt. Jonathan Walker plaque is locate in front of Brooks Academy next to the powder house, and outhouse on the curve of Rtes, 124 & 39, directly in front on the Harwich Congregational Church.

Here is the author's photo. John L. Hoh, the great, great, great newphew to Jonathan Walker who lives in Wisconsin.

Underground Railroad
By John L. Hoh, Jr.

Suite 101
When we talk about the Underground Railroad, we often think of the northerly migration of American slaves into Canada. Northern states weren’t always safe havens given that bounty hunters had the protection of the federal government to capture runaway slaves. Canada, being a territory of the United Kingdom, had outlawed slavery.

But along the southern coasts slaves used a seaway Underground Railroad. Here again a British territory was the destination, usually the Bahamas. And it was just such an attempted escape that has captured my attention to the Underground Railroad. This escape attempt included an ancestor of mine.

Meet my great-great-great uncle, Captain Jonathan Walker.

To be sure, this is “shirt-tail” relativity. My grandfather’s sister married Captain Walker’s grandson, Lloyd Garrison Walker, Jr. And if that name sounds familiar, it’s because Jonathan and Jane Walker named their children after leading abolitionists of the day: John Bunyan Walker, Altamera Walker, Nancy Child Walker, Sophia Walker, Mary Gage Walker, the twins Maria and Lloyd Garrison Walker, William Wilberforce Walker (the original WWW?), and George Fox Walker.

Walker had come to a realization that something was very much wrong with slavery. He worked with Africans that did the same work for far less pay. He was nursed back to health by strangers who had dark skin. He saw the evils of slavery in the fields. When he became convinced to take an active role in the activity of the abolition of slavery is hard to pinpoint. His notes indicate an epiphany sometime during the attempted journey to the Bahamas! Starting out on the journey, Walker considered the activity one of honoring a request of a friend and not necessarily a blow against slavery.

Born and raised in Harwich, Massachusetts, Jonathan Walker grew up in an area that was against slavery. John Adams, a leading delegate to the Continental Congress in 1776, desired slavery outlawed in the new nation and spelled out in the Declaration. Politics being what it is, and the vote making any resolution of revolution unanimous to pass, slavery was upheld to keep the thirteen colonies united for independence. The Constitution spelled out that slavery was the decision of states—and took an amendment to abolish slavery once and for all. (Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation only applied to southern states in rebellion and they had to be conquered to put the document in force; southern border slave states were not affected by the Emancipation.)

Walker became a sailor and ultimately owned his own boat (hence the title “Captain”). He soon set up residence in Pensacola, Florida. Florida at that time was a territory, not yet a state. Whether he aided slaves in escaping before his infamous journey is never known. It was alleged by others, but no mention is ever found in Walker’s writings. Walker biographer Alvin Oickle believes Walker was not active in the Underground Railroad before 1844. Walker was known in Pensacola to be a man who considered African-Americans his equal. He often employed them and was known to be a fair man. That Walker would be approached for freedom would only be natural.

In 1844 Walker again settled in Pensacola after some time with his family in Massachusetts and a brief stay in Alabama. Walker sought to raise a sunken boat and recover the copper on it. Soon after returning, Walker writes, “I had an interview with three or four persons that were disposed to leave the place. I gave them to understand that if they chose to go to the Bahama Islands in my boat, I would share the risk with them.” Walker agreed and the date and time was set. Walker set about making plans for the trip mostly along Florida’s coast and taking two weeks time. Once they attained Cape Florida, the Bahamas was a half day’s journey. These preparations would include stowing food and water for four or five men. While stops would still need to be made for fresh food and water, the fewer stops needed the better to avoid detection on land and reach the goal sooner. This aspect would come into play when seven slaves showed up for the journey. More stops were needed and, perhaps, valuable time was lost. Had the group arrived in Cape Florida a day sooner, they may have made it to the Bahamas.

The seven who attempted this escape were three brothers, Charles, Phillip, and Leonard Johnson (claimed by George Willis); Moses Johnson and Harry and Silas Scott (claimed by Navy Lt. Commander Caldwell; and Anthony Catlett (claimed by Byrd C. Willis).

On 20 June 1844, Walker set out with his boat, ostensibly to find the wreck he was trying to recover. On 22 June his boat was seen again in the bay. That night the slaves disappeared and the boat was gone in the morning. By 26 June 1844 the group arrived at St. Andre’s harbor east of Pensacola. Unknown to Walker, a false alarm had been raised about a boat west of Pensacola, near Perdido Bay. This would sufficiently divert attention away for a period of time.

But all was not well. Twice as many slaves sought to flee, meaning more stops for food and water. Each stop was fraught with peril as the group could be spotted and reported to authorities. Also, Walker appears to have become a victim of sunstroke and being exposed to the elements day and night wasn’t helping his health. He took home-made emetics to relieve his stomach pain. As the trip wore on, and Walker’s health declined, the pace of the journey slowed. Had things gone better, the escape could have been successful.

Back in Pensacola the furious slave owners were appealing to the federal government. Since Florida was a territory and not a state (statehood would come in 1845), federal marshals had jurisdiction. A letter was sent to President James Tyler, a Whig and a Tennessee slave owner. Tyler became president when William Henry Harrison died one month into office and Tyler’s term was seen as illegitimate. The Whigs, nevertheless, had just nominated Tyler as their candidate in 1844 and before the campaign began he went to New York to marry Julia Gardner. Agent Joseph Quigles, acting on behalf of the slave owners, sent this letter on 28 June 1844. On 29 June Quigles followed up with a letter to John C. Calhoun, who had been appointed Secretary of State the previous April. Some see this second letter as an indication that many did not accord the Tyler presidency any legitimacy. It could well be that Quigles was covering all bases, or he knew Tyler would be honeymooning and not around to conduct this business in a timely fashion, or Quigles wanted the secretary to begin negotiations should Walker and his group leave US territorial waters. Wanted PosterNevertheless, federal aid was requested and “Wanted” posters were sent out.

On 27 June 1844 Walker piloted the boat up St. Joseph’s Bay. He intended to haul the craft over land to St. George’s Sound and thus avoid going around Cape St. Blass. It soon became apparent that the distance was too great. The group went around the Cape on the 28th and 29th of June. Today these places are known as Port St. Joe and Cape San Blas. The group Today these places are known as Port St. Joe and Cape San Blas. The group had a 4close encounter with another boat that appeared to approach them. But the other craft changed course and never approached Walker’s group.

Thirty miles east the group reached the eastern end of Florida’s panhandle and started the southerly course to the keys and Florida’s tip. By 1 July 1844 the group reached Cedar Key (parallel to today’s city of Ocala). The trip would become tediously slow as Walker’s health deteriorated. Walker became delirious and could no longer direct the escape flight. Considering the seven slaves may have never sailed and likely knew little about Florida’s geography, progress would take much smaller steps. Walker wrote about that day: “I was somewhat delirious. I remember looking at the red horizon in the West, soon after sundown, as I thought for the last time in this world, not expecting to behold that glorious luminary shedding its scorching rays on me more.”

At this time Walker also wrote: “Among other things, my mind was occupied on [the subject of slavery] also, and I calmly and deliberately thought it over; and…came to the conclusion that slavery was evil…and therefore calculated to secure the approbation of that great ‘Judge of all the earth, who doeth right,’ and before whose presence whose presence I soon expected to appear.”

Three days later the group celebrated Independence Day only thirty miles south of Cedar Key, no doubt wondering at the irony of independence in a nation that enslaved another race. Back in Walker’s home area of Cape Cod, the Barnstable Patriot reported that the Friends of Liberty discussed the all-important subject of American slavery. They concluded that “people appear to be waking up to remove this curse from our land.”

Walker was soon returned to Pensacola after his capture. His trial would begin on 11 November 1844. But Walker needed to find legal aid—and fast.

Unfortunately, there was little sympathy in Pensacola among the legal profession. Responses to Walker’s query for legal aid went unanswered for weeks, only to be answered with righteous indignation. Walker had taken an unpopular stand in the midst of slave territory and the residents would remind him of that act.

An Abolition group in Boston attempted to secure legal aid as well. Alas, it was to no avail. Walker entered the courtroom on November 11 without the presence of a defense attorney. Walker was offered the choice of three attorneys present in the courtroom, but Walker asked for an extension, hoping that a private attorney would come through. A delay was granted to the 14th. of November. Although Walker sought a speedy trial, he also realized he would be better represented by a lawyer from Boston than by one from Pensacola. In the end Walker accepted the services of a lawyer, Benjamin Drake Wright, who had earlier spurned Walker out of indignation. Walker and Wright entered the courtroom on November 14th. to stand trial for what the state considered a crime—stealing another man’s slave. Walker, as most abolitionists at the time believed, felt he committed no crime, that no man should “own” another man.

Walker Anderson was the U.S. attorney bringing the case against Walker. Walker was charged with four counts. An interested point made by Walker biographer Alvin Oickle is that Walker was charged only with stealing four of the slaves, not all seven. Also, the slaves are not charged in the indictment. By the time Walker’s trial started, one slave had died and the remaining six were back in the custody of their “owners.”

Oickle also points out the difference in language: Walker was charged with aiding and assisting one slave’s escape, enticing another slave, and stealing a third. Oickle’s theory is that aiding and assisting was in regard to the slave who originally asked for help; stealing was in regard to slaves who simply showed up that evening and Walker could have refused passage. Another theory (mine) is that a jury could pick and choose which charge they would find Walker guilty of. The jury could find Walker guilty of a lesser crime or of a greater crime. And if the trial was overturned on a technicality, and Walker couldn’t by law be tried again, there would always be three more charges that could be levied against Walker.

### & ###

By Tom Carlson

Jonathan Walker, who was to become known as “the Man with the Branded Hand,” was born near Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in 1799. He went to sea at an early age and eventually became captain of his own ship. Walker also became a strong abolitionist. In 1835 he joined with Benjamin Lunday in colonizing fugitive slaves in Mexico. Lunday, a northern journalist, was among the first crusaders against slavery. Off and on over the next nine years Captain Walker sailed the waters of the Gulf Coast, assisting escaped slaves in a 12-ton whaleboat he built himself.
In 1844 Walker moved his family to Pensacola, Florida. In June of that year he agreed to take seven run-away slaves to the Bahamas by ship. Apparently Walker fell ill during the voyage and the ship drifted for several days until it was taken in tow by a salvage sloop.

Walker was put ashore at Key West and placed under arrest for aiding slaves to escape. Bail was set at $10,000. Unable to raise such a high bail, Walker stayed in jail in Pensacola until he was brought to trial before the Superior Court of Escambia County in November of 1844. Walker was convicted and sentenced to one hour in the public pillory, one year in prison for each of the slaves involved, a $600 fine for the lost work time of each slave, court costs, and finally a branding on the right hand with a readable double “S” signifying “Slave Stealer.”

A special branding iron had to be constructed for the unusual punishment. Several blacksmiths refused but eventually one agreed to make the proper tool. Walker was returned to the courtroom for the branding. His right hand was tied to a low rail at first, but when spectators complained they could not see the hand was made fast to a pillar above his head. U.S. Marshal Ebenezer Door held the hot iron against the base of Walker’s hand for 15 to 20 seconds. According to those present the branding made sizzling sound.

After the punishment Walker was returned to prison. His family and friends in the north began to work for his release. Appeals were made to the governor of Florida, beseeching him to intercede on Walker’s behalf. Through negotiations the fines and prison times were reduced. In May of 1845 the amount of $600 was paid, effecting Walker’s release.

Upon his return to New England, abolitionists hailed Walker as a hero and martyr. John Greenleaf Whittier wrote a poem in 1946 titled “The Branded Hand.” The most famous stanza of that poem went:

“Then lift that manly right hand
Bold plowman of the wave
Its branded palm shall prophesy
Salvation for the slave.”

Walker traveled about the country lecturing to crowds and describing the horrors of slavery. The climax of his speeches always came when he raised his right hand to reveal the brand. He proclaimed it “the seal, the coat of arms of the United States.”
When Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, Walker no longer felt the need to crusade against slavery. He moved with his wife, Jane, to Muskegon, settling on a small Fruit Farm in the Lake Harbor area. According to most accounts Walker lived quietly until his death on April 30, 1878. He was buried in Evergreen Cemetery.
The news of Walker’s death brought tributes from all across the country, including those of William Lloyd Garrison and Fredrick Douglas. Reverend Photius Fisk, another well-known abolitionist, paid for a monument to be placed on Walker’s grave. The dedication of the monument, August 1, 1878, attracted a crowd of 6000. One side of the 10-foot obelisk contained verses of Whittier’s poem while the other side showed a carving of the branded hand.

Over the years the Walker monument has become a national shrine to those working toward racial justice. In 1956 the Urban League established the Jonathan Walker Award for those showing special commitment to that end.

In August of 1998 the granite memorial was refurbished and rededicated in a ceremony that attracted a number of descendants of Jonathan Walker. At the same time a separate monument to Jane Walker was also unveiled. The Walker gravesite is located near the Irwin Street entrance of Evergreen Cemetery. Muskegon, Michahgan.

History of Harwich


Like all of Cape Cod, Harwich was home to local Indians, in this case the Nauset Indians of Harwich, consisting of the Sauquatuckett tribe to the north and the Monomoyick tribe to the south. These Indians lived in unspoiled beauty, undisturbed for many centuries and even for the couple of decades after the settlements of Yarmouth to the west and Eastham to the east. This land was the Cape's last wilderness until white settlers began to arrive toward the end of the 1650s.

In 1656, John Wing became the first settler to tame these wilds. He was a converted Quaker from Sandwich who apparently tired of the persecutions in that town and left to build a life elsewhere. He settled in the part of old Harwich that would eventually become what is Brewster nowadays. Wing was followed by John Dillingham and later, Gersham Hall, who in the 1660s became the first to settle in the southern area of old Harwich (the section that would remain the Harwich of today). More families followed, and, by 1690, there were enough living in the area to establish a church. In 1694 this area became incorporated as Harwich and contained the present towns of Harwich and Brewster as well as parts of Eastham and Orleans.

Harwich of the 18th century was a town in separation. Residents in the southern part of town grew weary of traveling to the Church parish in the north, so in 1744 they appealed for the building of a church in the south. Two years later permission was granted and a church was built. This southern parish later saw itself being split into some 15 splinter churches as a religious revolution of sorts took place in town. These religious groups included Congregationalists, Baptists, New Lighters, Come Outers (those who "came out" against slavery), and Standpatters (those who were not abolitionists).

In the 18th century the town itself began to come apart. The areas known as Portonumecot and Namecoyick became parts of Eastham in 1772, later becoming South Orleans. About a quarter of a century later the remaining part of Harwich split in two, the northern part becoming Brewster in 1803.

The earliest settlers were farmers who occasionally shored a whale. Harwich would later become one of the Cape's major fishing ports, reaping huge harvests of cod and mackerel. Other industries included the fishing for alewives, or young herring, from a number of streams as well as the harvesting of cranberries from the many bogs. This latter industry was developed in town by Alvin Cahoon who was instrumental in making cranberries a harvestable crop. Meanwhile, Harwich's Major Nathaniel Freeman gave the saltworks industry on the Cape a big boost by utilizing windmills to pump seawater into the salt vats. In fact, so profound was Harwich's contributions to the industry that it became home of the Massachusetts Salt Works Company established in 1797. The industry peaked during the 1830s only to see its decline a decade later when salt mining in the Midwest provided a more cost-effective alternative.

Two structures in Harwich of historical interest are the South Harwich Methodist Church on Chatham Road and the Captain James Berry House on Main Street, both on the National Register of Historic Places. You can see other historic sites at the Herring River in West Harwich and Muddy Creek between Harwich and Chatham.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Meet the Press January 11,2006

Harwich Officials Will Sign A Proclamation Of Respect Monday

by William F. Galvin

HARWICH --- A ceremony will be held on the Martin Luther King Day holiday declaring Harwich as a “No Place For Hate” community. The board of selectmen Monday night approved a proclamation to be read at an event scheduled for noon at town hall.

The event will be the culmination of efforts in the community to demonstrate Harwich is a haven of respect and its inhabitants will not tolerate subtle or overt racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and ethnic bigotry.

This movement hit the ground running when a resident awoke one weekend in late November to see a red swastika painted on a roadway sign along Route 39 in Harwich Center .

“I wonder what this says about the supposedly quiet place we live in. I wonder if it is time to revisit the subject of tolerance as a community value. I wonder if this was the work of adults,” resident Susan Leven said at the time.

The defacing of the sign brought the community together to face issues of intolerance and find ways of speaking out against such actions. A No Place For Hate Harwich committee was formed and working with a diverse population of the community, crafted a Proclamation of Respect which selectmen approved on a vote Monday night. The proclamation will be officially signed in a ceremony specifically chosen to take place on Martin Luther King Day at town hall.

Board of Selectmen Chairman Ed McManus made a presentation to selectmen Monday night, explaining the proclamation was crafted by Rev. Terry Newberry, John Bangert, Chuck Micciche, Cathy Comeau, Police Chief William Mason and McManus. The initial plan was to hold a ceremony at the community center on Monday.

But Selectman Robin Wilkins, who initially recommended an event be held on the King holiday, urged holding the ceremony on the steps of town hall, citing the location as symbolically more significant.

Wilkins said in his associations with the assassinations of President Kennedy and King, he had a vision of noontime and recommended the gathering take place at that time, instead of the 10 a.m. scheduling of events at the community center.

“Snow or rain we’ll be there,” Wilkins said. “The whole idea of being outside is critical to this proclamation.”

The Proclamation of Respect states in part: “We recognizes issues of diversity and encourage our residents to foster a spirit of understanding and respect for all peoples. The safety, well-being and respect for all of our citizens are essential in our growing community. We invite full participation in our community affairs and respect, support, and encourage people of every race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, age and physical and mental ability to join with us in building a community of respect.”

The Anti-Defamation League and the Massachusetts Municipal Association have joined together in promoting the No Place For Hate Program in communities across the commonwealth. Approximately 60 communities have issued proclamations declaring they are active in the program.

John Bangert, who is a member of the group sponsoring the effort, told selectmen Monday night the Anti-Defamation League has notified him they are pleased to have Harwich be part of the program. Bangert said there are five new communities committing to the program this year, including Belmont , Boxford, Harwich, Watertown and Worcester .

He praised the decision by town officials to hold the proclamation ceremony on Martin Luther King Day. He recited a quote from Coretta Scott King that “Martin Luther King Day is not a day off, it’s a day on.”

Selectman Peter Piekarski said he was not going to support the motion to approve the proclamation. He objected to the Anti-Defamation League as a political action group set up for no other purpose than to promote itself. Piekarski said neither the town of Harwich nor any other government should be interacting with the ADL.

“I would support a program run by the town of Harwich , local ministers or local volunteers,” Piekarski said. “I’m not racist or discriminatory. It’s wrong for town government to interact with a political action entity. The only reason why I’m not supporting it is the Anti-Defamation League.”

Selectman Donald Howell said Piekarski is “one of the finest, most decent people” he has sat next to on the board of selectmen and he does not read anything more into his statement than what was said.

“If we believe in this proclamation we should respect his own conscience for making this decision,” Wilkins said.

Gail Bangert said she has worked closely with the volunteers in this effort and she assured Piekarski they would not “think badly” of the position he has taken.

Piekarski said he had done research on other programs with the intention of presenting an alternative approach, but each of those programs falls under political action groups.

Residents and town officials will gather at town hall at noon on Monday to participate in the No Place For Hate proclamation signing ceremony. There will be a larger version of the proclamation available for signature by residents.


No hate' event set for Monday
Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The board of selectmen Monday adopted a "proclamation of respect," which will be read on the steps of town hall at noon Monday, Jan. 16, Martin Luther King Day.
The proclamation, prepared by the Rev. Terry Newberry, John Bangert, Chuck Micciche, selectmen chairman Ed McManus, Cathy Comeau, and Police Chief Bill Mason, states that Harwich recognizes diversity and declares itself a "community of respect for all people," as part of the Anti-Defamation's League's No Place for Hate program. The recent defacing of a bike path sign with a swastika prompted the move.
The proclamation was approved by a vote of 3-1, with Selectman Peter Piekarski opposing. He said the Anti-Defamation League is a controversial political action committee to which the town should not align itself. He said he would have supported a home-grown program.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


At the BOS (Board of Selectman) meeting held on Monday, January 9, 2006 The Harwich Board of Selectman voted to Proclaim The Town of Harwich as a No Place for Hate Community! However, this vote was not unanimous. Voting for this proclamation were Selectmen, Ed Mc Manus, Robin Wilkins, & Donald Howell. The dissenting Selectman was Peter Piekarski. We are open to the diversity in our town leadership and we respect their differences. We accept that on face value all selectmen men voted with their conscience. Here are the facts, no committee members are members of ADL. The No Place for Hate Committee Harwich, are all local, long standing, diverse men and women from Harwich. We are grassroots organization that formed in the vaccume of town moral leadership. We stepped up because to not do anything, would have been complacent and wrong.

The good works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will continue long after both his birthday and his death.

The public ceremony will be held at Noon on Martin Luther King Holiday January 16, 2006 at the Town Hall. All are invited to sign this proclamation which will be managfied and then be part of the town's historical records.

Letter from ADL New England

Anti-Defamation League,
40 Court Street,
Boston, MA 02108

Exerpts from a January 6, 2006, letter from the New England Region of the ADL:

"........ Thank you for your continued dedication to the ADL's No Place for Hate Program. As a partner in this important program, you and your community are helping to set the standard for respect and inclusion in cities and states around our region. Together we have experienced five successful years of speaking out against hate and bigotry, while creating hundreds of unique anti-bias programs in over fifty communities that are proud to call themselves No Place for Hate........

........ We are pleased to welcome the newest communities to sign on to the No Place for Hate program, all working towards certification in 2006: Belmont, Boxford, Harwich, Watertown, Worcester. ........."

Jennifer Smith
Director of Community Outreach

Friday, January 06, 2006

Do you know this? Do you remember this?

Alberta Christine Williams King (September 13, 1903 – June 30, 1974) was Martin Luther King, Jr.'s mother and the wife of Martin Luther King, Sr. She played a significant role in the affairs of the Ebenezer Baptist Church where both her husband and her son preached. King was shot dead in the church six years after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

Early Life 1904-1926

She was born Alberta Christine Williams, the only daughter of A.D. Williams, who was then the head of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia and Jennie Williams. Williams attended high school at Spelman Seminary and obtained a degree in teaching certificate at the Hampton Normal and Industrial Institute in 1924.

Alberta Williams met Michael King whose sister Woodie was boarding with her parents shortly before leaving for Hampton. After returning from college, she announced her engagement to King at the Ebenezer Baptist Church. She worked for a short period as a teacher before the marriage on Thanksgiving Day in 1926. As women teachers were then not allowed to work while they were married, she had to give up her job as a teacher.

Family and Church Life 1926-1968

After the wedding, the Kings moved in with her parents. Their first child, a daughter Willie Christine, was born on 11 September 1927. Martin Luther King Jr. was born on 15 January 1929 while their third child Albert Daniel Williams King was born on 30 July 1930 and named after her father. During this period, Michael King changed his name to Martin Luther King Sr.

Her father died on 21 March 1931 and Martin Luther King Sr. became the pastor at the Ebenezer Church. Alberta King became the choir director and organist. This position was a critical position in an African American church where gospel music was an integral part of proceedings. Her skills as a choir director helped to keep and recruit members to the church and soon received recognition throughout Georgia. From the age of 4, Martin Luther King Jr. would sing at the Ebenezer Church and at other musical gatherings with Alberta accompanying him on the organ. The Ebenezer Church choir performed at the premiere of Gone with the Wind in 1939 and Alberta King also performed at meetings of the National Baptist Convention.

Alberta King worked hard to instil self-respect into her three children. In an essay written at Crozer Seminary, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote that his mother was behind the scenes setting forth those motherly cares, the lack of which leaves a missing link in life. Martin Luther King Jr. was close to his mother throughout his life.

Alberta King's mother Jennie Williams died on 18 May 1941 of a heart attack and her oldest son was so upset that he jumped from the second floor of the house. The Kings later moved to a larger yellow brick house three blocks away. Alberta King would also serve as the organiser and president of the Ebenezer Women's Committee between 1950 and 1962. By the end of this period, Martin Luther King Sr. and Jr. were joint pastors of the church.

Family Tragedies 1968-1974

Martin Luther King was assassinated by escaped convict James Earl Ray on April 4, 1968 while leading a march in Memphis in support of the local sanitation workers union and was pronounced dead several hours later. Alberta King was a source of strength after her son's assassination.

Her other son Albert Daniel King died in an accident at his home in Atlanta after having become the assistant pastor at the Ebenezer Baptist Church. She herself was shot and killed on June 30, 1974 by a deranged gunman Marcus Chenault as she sat at the organ of the Ebenezer Baptist Church. Chenault was a 21-year-old youth from Ohio who stated that he shot her because "all Christians are my enemies."


* The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. Volume I: Called to Serve, January 1929-June 1951, (University of California Press, 1992) Introduction

* The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. (New York: Warner Book, 1998) Chapter 1 edited by Clayborne Carson

* Martin Luther King, Jr., "Autobiography of Religious Development," 22 November 1950

External References

* Stanford University biography of Alberta King

* African American registry article on death of Alberta King

* Find a Grave article on Alberta King

* The King Centre biography of Martin Luther King Jr

Retrieved from ""

Category: Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here is the original article on Mrs. King's death by Claude Lewis

Claude Lewis, who traveled throughout the South with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his civil rights entourage as a reporter for Newsweek Magazine and later the New York Herald Tribune, is a columnist with the Philadelphia Inquirer. He is a founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists. In addition, he has written six books, numerous magazine articles and several television specials. Lewis is also a professor in the Honors Program at Villanova University. He lives in Bushkill with his wife, Beverly, a registered nurse.

And From the King Center in Atlanta.

"In recent years, events in the lives of the King family have continued to reflect the tragedy and the triumph so uniquely combined in Dr. King’s own life and is intrinsic, perhaps, in the lives of all dedicated persons the world over.
Just a little more than a year after Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed, his younger brother, Alfred Daniel, died in a tragic accident at his home in Atlanta. Funeral services were held at Ebenezer Baptist Church on July 24, 1969, where Alfred Daniel had served as co-pastor.

On Sunday, June 30, 1974, Mrs. Alberta Williams King, the mother of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was shot and killed as she sat at the organ in the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. Again, through an act of violence, there ended a life that was totally nonviolent, a life that was thoroughly Christian, a life that reflected love for all persons and unselfish service to humankind. Again, the indomitable faith of the King family was put to the test, and again love prevailed amid the greatest sadness. The Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr., bereft by the violent deaths of his two sons and now by the equally tragic death of his devoted wife, could still say – and did say – at her funeral service on July 3, “I cannot hate any man.”

In 1975, the year following his wife’s death, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr. resigned his forty-four year pastorate at Ebenezer, passing on the active leadership of the church to the young and inspired Dr. Joseph L. Roberts, Jr. At his retirement banquet on August 1, 1975, however, “Daddy King” made it clear – as if anyone could have thought otherwise – that his resignation did not mean his retirement from the full and active life that has described his long career. This “Giant of a Man,” as he was acclaimed on that memorable evening, continued to work and to speak and to use the gifts with which the Lord had endowed him in the loving service of others. Among the Rev. King, Sr.’s many accomplishments is the completion of his one luxury, the publication of his autobiography, Daddy King. Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr. died on November 11, 1984 of a heart attack at Crawford W. Long Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. He was 84 years of age. Funeral services were held on November 14, 1984."

Thursday, January 05, 2006

No Place for Hate Official Proclamation ADL, MMA & Town of Harwich

Official Proclamation


All acts of subtle and overt racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, and ethnic bigotry substantially undermind our communities, schools, and the promise of equal justice;


Our nation was founded on the fundamental conviction that all persons are entitled to equal protection, equal opportunity and to the enjoyment of civil rights;


The strength of our nation is derived from the growing diversity of our communities and;


The Anti-Dafamation (ADL), Massachusetts Municipal Association and other coalition members are sponsoring a program designed to help communities develop and take specific actions to combat bias and to promote respect for all people;


On Monday, January 16, 2006 (Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday), the Town of Harwich will committ to fulfill the criteria to be declared No Place for Hate and;

We can begin to solve the problem of hate and to build bridges to different communities only by taking strategic and specific actions to promote a sense of welcome and inclusion.

Now, therefore, I, ______________________ , do hereby proclaim that the Town of Harwich will maintain a policy of zero tolerance for hate crimes and will do our best to interrupt prejudice and stop those who, because of hate, would hurt, harass, or violate the civil rights of anyone. We also pledge ourselves to undertake a serious year-round program to mobilize key leadership segments in our community to creatively address any issue that will help promote a recognition and encouragement of diversity.

We encourage all residents of Harwich to take cognizance of this proclamation and
participate fittingly in its observance.


Board of Selectmen Chair