Trenton Free Public Library will transform into a “living museum” featuring students from Sprout U School of the Arts sharing the perspectives of African Americans on the Revolutionary War and its meaning for enslaved people during a free community event from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 30, 2022.

“We are so excited about participating,” said Danielle Miller-Winrow, headmaster of Sprout U School of the Arts.

“A Revolutionary Conversation: Whose history and whose freedom, anyway?” will feature Trenton students portraying real-life African-Americans who lived during the Revolutionary War and were excluded from the ideals espoused by founding fathers that “all men are created equal” and “endowed with certain inalienable rights…”

Students selected characters from biographies featured in the book Answering the Cry for Freedom by Gretchen Woelfle. Library visitors will receive a free copy of the book; and Ms. Woelfle will be on hand to discuss her work and autograph books.

“We are thrilled to be bringing this experience to our community,” said Rebecca Franco-Martin, director of the Trenton Free Public Library. “We invite the public to join us to hear stories of African Americans living during the Revolutionary War — as continental soldiers, loyalists, slaves and citizens — and discuss how our community can interpret our shared history in ways that respect our shared ideals of equality.”

This free event is funded by a community history grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities to the Old Mill Hill Society. Volunteers include community activists such as Marc McKithen, Algernon Ward, Crystal Feliciano, and Kenneth Miles; educators such as Rebecca Franco-Martin, Laurie Budrewicz, Nina McPherson, and Danielle Miller-Winrow, as well as neighborhood volunteers.

The committee’s goal is sharing stories not typically included in traditional Anglo versions of the Revolutionary War in a way that not only entertains and educates children, but also engages teens and adults in exploring issues of equality and freedom

The event will feature:

  • Characters sharing their stories while engaging visitors in discussions about choices they faced and actions they took.
  • Free copies of “Answering the Cry for Freedom” while supplies last at the event.
  • Q&A with author Gretchen Woelfle
  • Arts/crafts activity for young children

All current COVID-19 safety protocols must be followed, Masks are required in the library and COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shots are strongly encouraged. Issues to be explored were selected based on a public survey in July 2021 and a virtual “community conversation” live streamed on the TFPL Facebook page.