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Re-live Fall River history in free Quequechan River Rail Trail walk

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Love Fall River history and the Rail Trail? We have an event just for you.

3rd Graders from Silvia School and the Public are invited to see History Re-lived on the Quequechan River Rail Trial on Friday, April 26, from Noon to 2:00 PM.

On Friday April 26 from 12 noon to 2:00 PM, students from Durfee High School and UMass Dartmouth will bring the history of Fall River’s textile industry to life at the City’s Third Annual History Walk on the Alfred J. Lima Quequechan River Rail Trail. This year, through a collaboration with the Fall River School Department, the event will welcome 3rd grade students from Silvia Elementary School. These youngsters will get to see first-hand some of the realities of life of local mill workers in the 19th century. Without child labor laws in place, they will learn how children their ages worked long hours in the mills along the Quequechan River, and how their small hands were put to use. The general public is welcome to join in the history-telling.

Dressed in period costume, and with carefully researched scripts, students will portray real-life mill workers, mill owners, and other city residents who were living in Fall River over a century ago. At each of the eight live history stations, participants will have the opportunity to learn about the city’s industrial past, what it was like to work in the mills, and how local activists tried to improve the living and working conditions of mill workers.

Students will be portraying people like Joseph Magano who came to Fall River from the Azores in 1850 and supported his parents and siblings by working as a doffer in the mills. Another student will portray a young woman who came to Fall River to escape the potato famine and earned $2 a week for working a 70-hour week in the mills. A featured character will be Elizabeth Chace, who helped found Fall River’s Female Anti-Slavery Society in 1835. The event will be held on the Quequechan River Rail Trail which is surrounded by many of the city’s historic mill buildings, a perfect setting for the event.

In addition to the live history reenactments, interactive displays of the tools, toys, music and materials used in the cotton industry as well as fun ways to engage with historical photographs will make the learning about history fun for visitors of all ages. A special feature of this year’s History Walk will be sculptures created by Durfee art students that depict the shoes worn by 19th century mill workers and encourage visitors to literally step into workers’ shoes and imagine the hardships of their lives.

Visitors can access the History Walk from the Wordell Street entrance to the Trail at Britland Park. Parking is available at the Wordell Street Lot off Plymouth Avenue, or at the reserved spaces in the parking lot of Stop & Shop on Rodman Street.

The event is the result of collaboration between B.M.S. Durfee High School, UMass Dartmouth’s Anthropology Department and Labor Education Center, the Lafayette-Durfee House, Fall River’s Mass-in-Motion and Partners for a Healthier Community. For more information contact Julianne Kelly, Coordinator, Mass in Motion-Fall River:  HYPERLINK “mailto:jbkelly@fallriverma.org” jbkelly@fallriverma.org or at 508-324-2405- Monday-Thursday.

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