Leominster Public Library to host ‘Yours for Humanity, Abby’ performance – Sentinel & Enterprise

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LEOMINSTER — Actress and activist Lynne McKenney Lydick brings 19th century Worcester abolitionist Abby Kelly Foster to life in a deeply researched living history theatrical experience “Yours for Humanity, Abby” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25, at the Leominster Public Library, 30 West St.
“Abby Kelley Foster was an average, middle class New England woman whose special contribution was her skill to reach out to and change ordinary people in small villages and towns across the country,” said Diane Sanabria, local history and genealogy librarian, of the Leominster Public Library. “She was one of the most effective public speakers and fundraisers of the American Anti-Slavery Society and became one of America’s most celebrated public figures before the Civil War.”
Sanabria believes that Foster felt her true calling was organizing people not yet convinced that slavery was evil.
“She wrote about going into new territory, clearing the brush of prejudice, planting the seeds of anti-slavery sentiment, and laying the groundwork for more famous anti-slavery lecturers like William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips,” Sanabria said. “Unlike many abolitionists, Foster believed fully in men and women’s equality, as did Leominster’s own Frances Drake.”
McKenney Lydick is nationally known for her riveting evocation of Abby. As a public historian, educator, and actor she has traveled throughout New England and New York, Illinois and Ohio bringing historically significant women to life in her one-woman programs.
“She presents a lens with which to view our present and future worlds through the lives, work, words, and deeds of remarkable, inspiring women,” Sanabria said.
She is an active volunteer with Worcester’s Abby’s House, also shares her time and talents with other organizations, including the Worcester Public Schools, the League of Women Voters, the Jane Fund of Central Massachusetts, a reproductive justice organization and for over twenty years, the Worcester Women’s History Project.
Born in Maine in 1955, she is married with three children and lives in Worcester and has been the recipient of many awards for her work.
Light refreshments will be served at the program, which is supported in part by grants from the Leominster and Westminster Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency. The program is also sponsored by the Friends of the Leominster Library and presented in partnership with the Central Massachusetts Genealogical Society.
“Leominster is fortunate to have a wealth of history to explore within its borders, and one of its most remarkable residents is surely Frances Drake,” said Sanabria.
The Drake House at 21 Franklin Street is notable as a stop on the Underground Railroad, and safe harbor for fugitive slave Shadrach Minkins on his journey to freedom in Canada.
“Frances Drake and Abby Kelley Foster are kindred spirits: both passionate abolitionists but also firm believers in equal rights for women,” Sanabria added. “Their convictions and courage continue to inspire us today.”
For more information on this presentation, call the Leominster Public Library at 978-534-7522.
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