Press Release April 12th, 2022 - Samuel Harrison Society Hosts Samuel Harrison Birthday Celebration on April 15th, 2022 at 7:00pm
The Samuel Harrison Society (SHS), in conjunction with the NAACP, Berkshire Country Branch, is having a virtual birthday celebration for the public to celebrate Reverend Samuel Harrison's life.
Attendees will hear Harrison’s own words as he struggles for freedom and equality for his people. Some stories are taken from Samuel Harrison’s autobiography; "Rev. Samuel Harrison: His Life Story, as Told by Himself". The streaming program will include Pittsfield’s Mayor, Linda Tyer, Samuel Harrison Society President, Marlena Willis, Samuel Harrison Society Vice President, Blayne Whitfield, and other speakers presenting stories on the life of Harrison.
The event will be available via PCTV (https://watch.pittsfieldtv.net/CablecastPublicSite/watch/1?channel=9) and streaming on PCTV’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pittsfieldtv) and on the PCTV Select App which is available on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, iOS, and Google Play.
About Reverend Samuel Harrison:
Samuel Harrison was born into slavery in 1818 and found his way to Pittsfield in 1850 to become the eloquent pastor of the Second Congregational Church.
His congregation was small but his work for black equality put him on the national stage. He lectured and debated in cities up and down the East Coast and as far away as Seattle. For the most part, Rev. Harrison's weapon was the pen rather than the sword.For more than 50 years he wrote passionate essays, pamphlets, sermons, and books condemning racism on every level. In an age of lynchings and violent bigotry, he feared no man and no man or institution was too big for him to challenge.
During the Civil War, he went head to head with Abraham Lincoln over equal pay for blacks serving in the Union Army. He won. And in June 1864 Congress granted equal pay for the 180,000 blacks who fought on the side of the North.
Rev. Harrison knew first-hand how badly blacks were treated in the military. He served as chaplain of the famed Massachusetts 54th Regiment, the first all-Black infantry to fight in the Civil War. The exploits of this unit were dramatized in the movie "Glory.