The book that was not a book

Last week we thought we were going to a book reading/author talk at the Hyattsville Library to hear the presentation “Anthony Cohen – The Road to Beloved.”  It was not the presentation of a book after all but a fascinating talk by an engaging historian who told about his search for his past, how he came to specialize in the history of the underground railroad, his personal travels on the modern day scene of the historic underground railroad, his into-the-past  immersion of Oprah Winfrey as she prepared for her film Beloved, and his current work with the Menare Foundation (www.menare.org).  His description of food harvesting activities at the foundation’s Button Farm Living History Center in Germantown elicited a question from a person behind us about volunteer and social justice activities for religious education classes in her congregation and we found that we had a connection with her.  Cohen’s search for his past and the places he researched the underground railroad reminded me of the trips I made to the Maryland Archives, the Maryland Law Library, the Prince George’s County Land Records Office, the Prince George’s County Historical Society, and many Prince George’s County landmarks as I did research preparing to write Well Considered — and where my protagonist Ron Watkins went as he searched for his great grandfather.

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