Abby Kelley Foster’s 200th Birthday Celebration

On Saturday, January 15, 2011, about seventy people attended a noontime luncheon in honor of the 200th an-niversary of the birth of Abby Kelley Foster. The Worcester Women’s History Project and Abby’s House organized the event. It was fittingly held at Abby’s House, a non-profit organization serving homeless and battered women and children, named after Abby Kelley Foster.

The Dining Hall at Abby’s House was set up for the event with beautifully decorated round tables for seating eight people, with a homemade birthday cake centerpiece on each table. Abby’s House founder, Annette Rafferty, welcomed everyone to the luncheon and then introduced WWHP President Fran Langille, who thanked Abby’s House for hosting the event, calling it “A Bright Spot in the City”.

These greetings were followed by a lunch catered by Struck Café. Over coffee and birthday cake, Fran Langille introduced Shirley Wright who read the letter she had written in 1999 as her speech on behalf of the Commission on the State of Women at a program held at the gravesite of Abby Kelley Foster on Women’s Equality Day. We then were invited to write our own birthday greetings to Abby Kelley Foster, using paper provided on the tables.

Lynne McKenney Lydick, in costume as Abby Kelley Foster, then encouraged all to go to the Worcester Public Library for a lecture by Dr. William Casey King entitled “Abby Kelley Foster: The Unsung Hero of the Abolitionist Movement”. Dr. King is the Executive Director of the Yale Center for Analytical Sciences at the Yale School of Medicine and Public Health. Over 100 people attended the lecture, which was engaging and provided a wealth of information about Abby Kelley Fos-ter and her work on behalf of the abolition of slavery. Dr. King invited Lynne McKenney Lydick to perform a portion of “Yours For Humanity —Abby” and recognized Carolyn Howe, co-author of the play, who was in the audience. Dr. King conducted a Q&A session following his lecture.

Many thanks go to Judy Finkel and the WWHP Events Committee for providing refreshments at the lecture and to Louise Gleason and Mary Plummer for handling the information table. The planning committee for both events included Annette Rafferty, Julie Komenos, Alex Kartheiser, Barbara Kohin, Lynne McKenney Lydick, Dotty Goldsberry, and Nancy Avila.

Published Date: 
February 19, 2011