Black history program looks at Plainville men of different eras

The Plainville Historical Society is excited to announce its 2023 Black History Month program. Gail Williams will present “My Father’s Stories: Anecdotes of an African-American Man” followed by “An Interview with Leven Harris” as written by local historian Henry Castle and adapted and presented by sisters Lisa and Alison Johnson. The program will be held Thursday, Feb. 23, 7 p.m., at the Plainville Historic Center, at 29 Pierce St.

Gail Johnson Williams, a longtime member of the Historical Society Board, is the organization’s specialist in local African American history. Williams’ father was Levester “Lutt” Johnson, who was born in Plainville and lived in town his entire life; first at Hart’s Corner and later on Newton Avenue, where he and his wife Varela raised their family.

Mr. Johnson worked at, and retired from, Plainville Casting. He was also a self-taught photographer and was able to turn this hobby into a part-time career. A member of several musical groups, he was also a board member at Redeemer’s Church.

Johnson’s remembered as someone who loved to tell the stories of Plainville’s days gone by, and in her Feb. 23 presentation, his daughter will bring these stories to life.

Leven Harris was an African-American Civil War veteran who served in Company F of the 31st Regiment. He moved to Plainville after the war and was well-known in town. Henry Castle, who was alive at the same time as Harris, wrote up an interview with him.

In their Historical Society presentation, Lisa and Alison Johnson will portray what life was like for an African-American man in post-Civil War Plainville.

To attend the Black History Month program on Feb. 23, email (include name(s), and telephone number.)


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