The Gertrude Blanks Storytelling Event (In Person)

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Registration for this event is no longer open.

Program Description


This event will take place at First Church, next door to the library.

Join the West Hartford Public Library as we celebrate Gertrude Blanks’ contributions to the community by keeping storytelling alive. Local residents will share their stories of life-changing experiences.

The West Hartford community and Public Library are proud to claim Gertrude as one of its own and a daughter who will always have a home at the West Hartford Public Library, especially on the Library wall mural where her picture is depicted among West Hartford's other two Town prominent Black women "firsts": former Town Councilperson Judy Casperson and State Representative Tammy Exum.

  1. Welcome – (WHPL Board Chair: Eileen Daly)
  2. Program Overview – (WHPL Director: Laura Irmscher)
  3. Introduction – (Janet Jackson)
  4. Gertrude Blanks – (Ann Marie Williams)
  5. Storyteller Rosemarie Tate
  6. Storyteller Okey Ndibe
  7. Q&A

Featured Storytellers:

Ann Marie “Jedda” Williams makes a positive impact on her community by teaching in Hartford Public and Private Schools as an educator and as a performing artist through song, music, movement, storytelling, professional workshops, after-school programming, theatrical plays, and her life’s project “Living Legends Among Us” honoring our gems and pearls of our community. 

Rosemarie Tate is a community activist and longtime justice, equity, and inclusion champion and advocate of West Indian Jamaican culture

Okey Ndibe is an author of 3 books, and his essays and reviews have appeared in many national and international publications, including the New York Times, BBC online, Al Jazeera online, and The Mail & Guardian (South Africa). For more than fifteen years he wrote a widely syndicated weekly column on Nigerian politics and culture.

Registration is encouraged, but not required. If you would like a recording of the presentation, please sign-up for this free event and you will receive a copy of the recording a few days after the program.

Free parking is available at the First Church of Christ Congregational through the Farmington Avenue entrance to the parking lot.

* Masks will be required.

* This event is first-come, first-served.

This event is made possible by the Thomas F. Kilfoil Memorial Bequest, West Hartford Library Foundation.