Monday, February 9, 2009

Into the Light: Erie's African American experience

Peggy and Barbara spent this past Saturday making their way through the Curtze-Watson Mansion in Erie, PA, taking in a new exhibit called "Into the Light". The exhibit is dedicated to Erie's African American experience and all of the artifacts are on loan from Ada Lawrence—a local woman who is a descendant of slaves.

Read about "Into the Light" here; Peggy and Barbara were both interviewed by WICU 12 News for the story.

To learn more about the Curtze-Watson Mansion, visit the Erie County Historical Society's website.

From left to right, Dr. Ellie Walsh (African American Experience Committee), Barbara Seals Nevergold, Peggy Brooks-Bertram, Melinda Meyer (Assistant Director), Rosemari Graham (Executive Director of EC Historical Society of Erie, PA)


  1. We want to commend the Erie County Historical Society for their commitment to uncovering, preserving the history of local African Americans and especially for making the collection available in such a magnificient ediface. The Curtze-Watson Mansion is a fitting setting for the exhibits that depict African American life in the Western Pennsylvania region. The exhibits span generations from the era of slavery to the present and as promised provide a portrait of the African American experiences of the Uncrowned Queens and Kings who are/were the community builders of this region.

    We were pleased to see that the exhibits attracted a diverse group of visitors, including many children. As we have often said, African American history is American history and the Historical Society's Exhibit is a tangible example of this contention.

    The Erie County Historical Society has become the second organization in the country to partner with the Uncrowned Queens Institute as an Uncrowned Community Builders Affiliate. This partnership will result in future collaborations to continue to feature Erie's African American Experience on the Uncrowned Queens' Community Builders webpage,

    We look forward to a productive and exciting affiliation.

  2. Dear Barbara and Peggy reading your account of visiting the INTO THE LIGHT exhibit at the Curtze-Watson Mansion gave me an idea. The J. Paul Getty Museum here in Los Angeles sometimes hosts readings and book signings. I performed there a few years ago as part of The Inspiration House Poetry Choir under the direction of Peter J. Harris. May have an email address for a viable contact there, will forward it to you. Thank you for all that you do.

  3. Wow! How wonderful! Thank you for including us on the blog site. The African American Experience exhibit features the Ada Lawrence collection, as well as items on loan from the Erie community. The exhibit presents the story of Erie's African American community from 1795 to today. The Lawrence Collection is just one part of the exhibition, which will be on display through June 7th, 2009.

    I love your use of video - very well done.

    Thank you for spending the day with us Saturday. We were thrilled with the public's response, and are looking forward to scheduling an event in the spring.