Tea Talks

2017 Elinor Williams Hooker Tea Talks 

A series of participatory lectures related to New Hampshire’s Black history and African American culture. Presented by the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail in collaboration with the Seacoast African American Cultural Center, these Sunday afternoon “Tea Talks” are held at Discover Portsmouth, 10 Middle St., Portsmouth, New Hampshire from 2 -4 pm and are free and open to the public.

Clink on the accompanying links to view videos of talks. 

Sunday, February 5

Politics & Activism in the Era of Trump

Should President Trump’s administration carry through on his campaign trail promises—to eject millions of undocumented immigrants, expand racial profiling and stop-and-frisk policies, and ban Muslims from entering the U.S.—we may be entering a new era of activism and challenges to the constitution. 

This panel will explore Trump’s pledges, potential threats to civil liberties for some members of our community, and challenges presented to the US constitution, a document intended to protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority. 

Senator David Watters, NAACP President Rogers Johnson, Community Activist Nur Snoop, & Community Activist Selina Taylor.

Sunday, February 12

The Unreconstructed North: Assimilation, Apartheid & Reconciliation 

Historic stories of violence on Native Americans and African Americans have for years saturated the airwaves and newspapers. Wounded Knee. Standing Rock. Emmett Till. Trayvon Martin. These names and situations invoke memories of extreme racial division and distrust.

Like South Africa’s “Truth and Reconciliation” campaign that began the yet progressing road to racial healing post-apartheid, this panel will present personal stories as steps to developing greater mutual understanding and promoting healing to create change in our own backyards.  Click here to view video

Eleanor Dunfey-Freiburger:  Reflections on the Truth and Reconciliation process in South Africa
Penthea Burns:  Stories from the Wabanaki-REACH program and their work with reconciliation in Maine
Woullard Lett: National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA). 

Sunday, February 19

Men of the Cloth: Black Masculinity & Spirituality

Church has historically been seen as the backbone of the Black community and the center of political and social life for African Americans. This panel discussion, featuring prominent local pastors, will discuss the role of the church in their lives; the impact of racism on Black masculinity; their personal journey as Black men ministering in a predominantly white state; and ways to construct an alternative expression of masculinity that is connected with emotion and spirit, self-determinism, accountability, family, and pride. Click her to view video

Rev. Robert Thompson, Rev. Authur Hilson, Rev. Robert Humphreys

Sunday, February 26

The Birth of a Nation: A Film Discussion

Nate Parker’s film The Birth of a Nation, which tells a version of Nat Turner’s infamous 1831 slave revolt in Virginia, underperformance at the box office raising question of the profitability of telling Black history stories like Turner’s. Some of the film’s most ardent advocates have charged that its problems result from plots among black feminists to harpoon the work of a man, the film’s produce, acquitted of rape. Other reviewers and supporters have called the film necessary viewing in spite of its creator.  Join in the discussion of the film, Nat Turner, Nate Parker and the movement to boycott and Blacklist a film. Click here to view video

UNH Professors Delia Konzett, Joe Onosko, Nancy Vwater

Sunday, March 5

Never Caught: The Washingtons Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge

Author Presentation, Living History Performance, Book Signing & House Tour

During the Spring of 1796, George Washington’s final months in office, Ona Judge Staines, a dowager slave owned by the First Family, escaped the Executive Mansion in Philadelphia with the aid of that city’s free black community, and made her way to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. What followed was a drama that put some of early America’s most famous families, including the Langdons and Whipples, in direct conflict with the most powerful man in the country, the President.

Join Author Erica Armstrong Dunbar as she presents eye-opening new scholarship on America’s First Family, the Washington’s, and Ona Marie Judge, their runaway slave.  Impeccably researched, Dunbar’s new book, Never Caught weaves a powerful tale on how one young woman risked it all to gain freedom from the famous founding father and the intense manhunt he led to recapture his “property.”

This event will also offer a living history performance featuring Gwendolyn Quezaire-Presutti as Ona Judge, a book signing and a guided tour of the Langdon House where part of Ona’s story takes place. Clink her to view video

Author Erica Armstrong Dundar and Living History Performer Gwendolyn Quezaire-Presutti

12:30 – 1:30 pm Tour of Governor John Langdon Mansion
2: 00- 2:30 pm Living History Performance
2:30 – 3:15 Author Presentation
3:15 – 4:00 Q&A
Book Signing and Refreshments

This event is free and open to the public. However, registration is required for tour of Historic New England’s Governor John Langdon House. Please call 603-436-3205 to register for the tour.

Sunday, March 12

On Being Muslim in the Deep North

Many people usually think of Muslims as Arabs, where in reality one-third of the Muslims in the US are Black American, one-third are South Asians and one-third are Arabs, making them on of the most diverse religious groups in the country.   For this panel, presenters will explore areas where their identities intersect and what it means to be Male or Female, Black & Muslim living in a post 9/11 New England. Through their shared stories we will gain an understanding of what it means to be part of a religion that preaches the “Oneness of God, the Oneness of mankind and the Oneness of the Message” and what our towns could be if practitioners were honored in a country whose tenants include freedom of religion for all instead of faced with discrimination.

Rashida Mohamed, Robert Azzi, Samaa Abdurraqib & Daouda Dieng

 Elinor Williams Hooker

 Elinor Williams Hooker (July 10, 1933 -January 27, 2012), a long time New Hampshire resident and community activist, was born July 10, 1933 in Pittsburgh, PA, daughter of the late Dr. Ulysses Williams and Louise G. Williams. The family’s Pittsburgh home was near Wylie Avenue an active community of black businesses, jazz music and churches, a location that would shape her lifelong interest in multicultural activities.

Mrs. Hooker was a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University where she majored in French and English. She taught English in Junior and Senior High Schools in Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, PA, Brockton and Quincy, MA and Concord, NH and served as a tutor in the English as a Second Language Program at Nashua’s Pennichuck Junior High.

Elinor was the wife of Thomas L. Hooker, who served from 1966 to 1974 as Di- rector of the New Hampshire Division of Welfare.


Senator David Watters teaches courses on New Hampshire and New England literature, history, and culture at the University of New Hampshire. He has served on the executive committee of the UNH faculty union. David is frequently heard on New Hampshire Public Radio as consultant for Granite State Stories and the Immigration Project. Deeply concerned about preserving our history, culture, arts, and environment, David served eight years as a trustee of the New Hampshire Historical Society, and on the board of directors for the New Hampshire Humanities, the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail, Pontine Movement Theatre, Strawbery Banke Museum’s Center for the Study of Community, and the Robert Frost Farm.

Rogers Johnson is the president of the Seacoast NAACP. As a State Representative from 2001 to 2006, Johnson ws selected as the House Majority Whip, the first African American to hold this position in the state’s history. He was asked by then President George W. Bush to go to Washington, D.C. to serve in the U.S. Department of Education as the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs under then Secretary Margaret Spellings. He held this position for three years until 2009.He has helped to pass necessary legislation in New Hampshire to keep vulnerable populations in the state in a position of power to resolve their own issues. He has worked with state and local law enforcement authorities to right the wrongs done to minority-based populations in New Hampshire and nationwide by unjust educational and government-based administrations. He has boldly stood up and fought on issues from domestic violence to zoning for men, women, students and children of all ethnicities who did not have a voice of their own. He has never backed down on an issue when it was right to push for a real result.

Nur Shoop is the a member of the Youth Council of the Seacoast branch of the NAACP. She is an activist. She is co-clerk of the New England Yearly Meeting (Quaker) Racial, Social and Economic Justice Committee, a member of the American Friends Service Committee of New Hampshire support committee, a member of Seacoast Occupy and of Seacoast Overpass Light Brigade, and treasurer of the Seacoast NAACP Youth Council. She was born and lived in Turkey until she was twelve when her family migrated to
Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Selina Taylor is a Senior Academic/Student Support Assistant and the Diversity network Program Coordinator at UNH. She is a board member of People of Color Leadership Summit in Manchester, NH, and a board member of the New Hampshire Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.



Eleanor Dunfey-Freiburger is the Chair of the Global Citizens Circle and teaches at Southern New Hampshire University. Dunfey has been a secondary and college teacher; she is Professor Emerita of Ethics and Civic Engagement at Southern New Hampshire University. She was advisor for 18 years to the University’s Human Rights Association and has, for 20 years, been chair of Global Citizens Circle, a 40 year old non-profit educational forum seeking to build thriving communities by convening people of diverse backgrounds and opinions to solve critical problems.. Eleanor has co-chaired delegations to South Africa, Northern Ireland. Cuba and directed programs involving local as well as world leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Mary Robinson, Oscar Arias, Coretta Scott King, Desmond Tutu, and George Mitchell.

Penthea Burns is a Senior Policy Associate at the Muskie School of Public Service. She focuses on project design and implementation for social service organizations and communities, creating connections and facilitating change. She is the author of Truth and Reconciliation: The Findings on Wabnaki Child Welfare in Maine and also of My Prognosis: I Live, a collection of poems about how the simplest things can move us forward or hold out the stillness.

Woullard Lett is a Managing Partner at Lett Consulting, LLC, in Manchester, NH. He has significant experience enhancing effectiveness in organizational and cultural systems which includes entrepreneurial and non-profit operational and administrative systems design, implementation and transformation. His primary area of focus is organizational management, capacity building, and integration of social cooperation and economic solidarity. His specialties include relationship building, strategic thinking, organizational management, entrepreneurship, economic cooperation, program design and evaluation.

Rev. Robert Thompson is the Phelps Minister, Phillips Church at Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, NH.





Reverend Arthur Hilson is the pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Portsmouth. He was very involved in the struggle to bring the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday to the state of New Hampshire. He taught a course in American studies at the high school called “Another View.” He teaches that there is always another way to look at what is accepted, that there is always another view. He asks his students to question authority, to think critically and to have the self-esteem to know that they should. He is one of America’s most dynamic and inspirational Spiritual leaders. Pastor Hilson has often stated, “I do not meet strangers, I meet people for the first time, but I do not meet strangers.” He is also well known in the church and community for his jovial and happy greeting “I’m too Blessed to complain!”

Pastor William Humphrey is the pastor of Saint Mark’s United Methodist Church in Kittery Maine. He has served this congregation since October 2005. He served in many capacities with Saint John’s United Methodist Church in Dover NH and in various committees of the Hew England Conference of the United Methodist Church. Before retiring, he was formerly employed at Collins & Aikman in Dover for 38 years in their research and development facility developing materials for automotive interiors and exteriors as a senior chemist. “Science points the way to God and allows us to see extremely small to perhaps the largest of the God’s creative power of love and grace.”

Delia Konzett is a Professor of English and Cinema/American/Women’s Studies at UNH. She is the author of Ethnic Modernisms and is currently working on WWII Film and Orientalism



Joe Onosko is an Associate Professor of Education at the University of New Hampshire. His field of research is middle and secondary social studies education, curriculum theory and design, and approaches to school reform.



Rayvoughn Millings (Class of 2017) is a senior at the University of New Hampshire. He will graduate in the spring with a degree in Information Technology. Millings has been a part of Men of Stregth Diversity Education and Family (MOCDEF) since his freshman year as has been the group’s President for the past two years.


After working for many years at New Hampshire Public Television and WBUR Public Radio Nancy Vawter, became a principal officer and co-owner of Atlantic Media. Together with her partner
Brian Vawter, she has been nominated for an Emmy, won 14 Telly Awards, 2 Videographer Awards, and other local awards. Nancy is the producer of Shadows Fall North.

Erica Armstrong Dunbar is Professor of Black American Studies and History at the University of Delaware. She has recently participated in several documentaries, including “Philadelphia: The Great Experiment” and “The Abolitionists,” an American Experience production on PBS. In 2011, Professor Dunbar was appointed the first director of the Program in African American History at the Library Company of Philadelphia. She has been the recipient of Ford, Mellon, and SSRC fellowships and most recently has been named an Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer. Her first book, A Fragile Freedom: African American Women and Emancipation in the Antebellum City was published by Yale University Press in 2008. Dunbar’s most recent book, Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge will be published in 2017.

Gwendolyn Quezaire-Presutti’s portrayal of historical women introduces untapped history, drawing on a wide array of primary historical resources. For the past 20 years Gwendolyn has engaged audiences with performances giving voice to real life accounts, struggles, self-determination and triumphs of women she portrays. Each performance is infused with her unique finger print giving an integral portrait of a historical event or person.


Rashida Mohamed is a victim advocate for the Manchester Police Domestic and Sexual Violence Unit. She works in conjunction with the Domestic Violence Project, a grant-funded, community-based effort to support all victims of domestic violence and aims to hold offenders accountable for their actions.



Samaa Abdurraquib is a Visiting Professor of Gender and Women’s studies at Bowdoin College in Maine. She made the move to Maine from Wisconsin in 2010 after completing her PhD in English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research and writing focuses on: 20th-21st century diasporic women writers; violence against women; and African American Muslims in the US. Samaa is a contributor to I Speak for Myself: American Women on Being Muslim a collection of personal essays written by American Muslim women under the age of 40, all of whom were born and raised in the US. It is a showcase of the true diversity found in American Islam.

Robert Azzi is a photojournalist, columnist, public speaker and education consultant. An Arab American Muslim, he writes on issues of identity, conflict and Islam. His goal is to open up new perspectives for his readers and expose them to points of view which he believes are important and which they might not have previously considered. He encourages tolerance, understanding and interfaith dialog.

Daouda Abdoulaye Dieng was born and raised in New Hampshire to a Muslim father from Senegal, West Africa (a Muslim majority country) and a mother from Germany. Between his interracial background and growing up in New England he was exposed to a variety of religions and encouraged to search for his own truth. That journey has guided him back to his roots and he is now a practicing Muslim.

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Mail: PO Box 6772, Portsmouth NH 03801
Phone: 617-539-6886
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Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire

The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire works to visibly honor and celebrate a truer more inclusive state’s history through exhibits, programs and tours that can change the way our country understands human dignity when it is free of historical stereotypes.

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