Anyone who was inspired by the city's beautiful memorial to Martin H. Freeman might want to read more about his remarkable life and times.

A good source would be the Rutland Historical Society's Quarterly titled Martin H. Freeman America's First Black College President and Pioneering Black Social Activist (Vol. XXVI No. 3 1996). It was written by the late Dr. Russell W. Irvine, professor in the Department of Education Policy Studies at Georgia State University. The quarterly is available for reading on the Historical Society's website and possibly for purchase.

Dr. Irvine visited the society on several occasions to gain insight into Freeman's early life for a biography he was in the process of compiling, and agreed to contribute a portion of the manuscript for publication in a quarterly. He returned in 1998 for the dedication of the Vermont Historic Site marker honoring Freeman on North Main Street on a plot donated by the First Vermont Bank. This location was chosen to be near the site of the old East Parish Congregational Church where the Rev. William Mitchell, pastor, had recognized the promise of young Freeman, tutoring him, encouraging his growth and enabling his admission to Middlebury College.

The Freeman biography appears in Irvine's book, "The History of Black Higher and Professional Education."

Elaine Purdy


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