Rotary Log for September 26, 2019
Our cheerful greeter, Tiffany McKenna, welcomed Rotarians and guests on this beautiful fall day!
President Leo started the meeting promptly at 12:15 pm with a strike of the bell.  Jessica Parker led us in prayer.
Later, Steven Bennett attempted to auction off a vacation timeshare owned by Larry Gray in St. Thomas.  Unfortunately, there were no bidders…wonder if the hurricane season scared of some of us New Englanders?
Past District Governor Dave put in a plug for “Rotary Rocks” which is being held October 5 from 9am to 4 pm at University of Maine, Portland.  The message is “Be There or be Square!”  Come learn about projects Rotary is doing, how to get involved and meet new people. 
President Elect Jon thought he was wicked “smaaaht” when he came up to give his historical moment. He gave us a pop quiz and discussed how the Rotary Wheel came about.  As the story goes, a group of engineers advised that the geared wheel was mechanically unsound. It could not work without a "keyway" in the center of the gear to attach it to a power shaft. So, in 1923 the keyway was added to signify the wheel was a "worker and not an idle.”
The keyway in the center of the hub is of great significance, because it represents the individual Rotarian, the key factor in every club. Key members are needed for the hub to engage with the shaft and turn. They put energy into motion, creating power for the gears to do their work.   How is that for a historical moment? 
Leo gave us some sad news; Past District Governor Mort Schmidt is having major surgery this week. He would love cards, calls and visits from club members to cheer him up. Please keep Mort and his family in your prayers this week.
Our guest Speaker today, Jerri Anne Boggis, is the Executive Director at the Black Heritage Trail.  Jerri Anne is originally from Jamaica but came to the United States in 1977.  The BHT recently purchased a building on Court Street with part of the $450,000-dollas in tax credits given to them.  Walking tours start at 22 Court Street and run through October 20. Time is ticking so don’t miss out if you would love to learn about Black History in Portsmouth. 
Many of you are familiar with the African Burial Ground, but did you know how it came to be? In 2003, through regular sewer construction in the street, what was thought to be coffins were disturbed.  They were later tested, and it was confirmed that the place was indeed a burial ground. Subsequent research shows that Portsmouth was heavily involved in the slave trade from 1645 until about 1800.
Jerri Anne went on to tell us about many famous African Americans who ran away from slave owners and made history.   Ona Marie Judge was one of those slaves, running away from George Washington himself. She ended up living in Greenland.  Harriet E. Wilson settled in Milford, N.H. and became the first woman to be a published writer. Many more followed over the years until slavery was abolished by the 13th Amendment in 1865. 
Come and hear about African American history right here in our backyard. Learn about these brave young men and women, who escaped to freedom and their struggles for more than 100 years. Mike Asselin asked what local schools are doing to teach children about the truths of slavery and if curriculum is being changed.  This is something the BHT is trying to accomplish, but there are still a lot of mountains left to climb.
The 50/50 was $58 with a jackpot of $ 300!  Angela Ferris won the 50/50 but sadly it was not a match! Better luck next time.
Leo brought the meeting to a close with the Four Way Test.
Respectfully submitted, PP Cleo Villaflores
Photos by Sara Treacy