Sponsored by:

Amos Fortune Forum in Jaffrey will be back in person

  •  Jaffrey Meetinghouse STAFF FILE PHOTO BY BEN CONANT

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 6/23/2022 1:14:36 PM
Modified: 6/23/2022 1:14:17 PM

After two years of livestream-only events due to COVID-19, the Amos Fortune Forum at the Jaffrey Meetinghouse will return in person this summer for its 75th season of live presentations.

In honor of the series’ 75th season, there will be an anniversary celebration July 8 at the Jaffrey Center Village Improvement Society’s Cutter Park Lawn from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., prior to the first presentation at 8 p.m. Tickets for the celebration are $20, and the event will include appetizers, beverages and a silent auction. 

“We try to come up with a real variety of speakers. There isn’t a narrow definition of topics that we have,” said Brad Smith, the chair of the forum’s committee. “We like to keep it as broad as possible and have no agenda behind the forum.”

To demonstrate this broadness, Smith compared this summer’s first speaker, Carl Bernstein, to its last, Steve Zakon-Anderson. Bernstein, famous as one of the Watergate reporters, is presenting “America and Journalism Fifty Years After Watergate,” and has huge name recognition, according to Smith. Meanwhile, Smith said Zakon-Anderson will take on a much more local subject with his talk “Contra Dancing: Past and Present, and its Vital Role in the Monadnock Region.”

“You can see the wide variety, and that’s very much on purpose,” Smith said. 

Smith said that, like all aspects of the forum, the process of choosing speakers is community-driven. Members of the community can suggest ideas for speakers, which the committee, made up entirely of volunteers, takes into consideration when organizing the season’s program.

The forum’s namesake, Amos Fortune, was a Jaffrey resident in the 1700s. In his early life, Fortune was brought to the United States from Africa as a slave. Years later, he bought his and his wife’s freedom and moved to Jaffrey at the age of 71. He adopted a daughter and ran a successful tanning business. Upon his death in 1801, he donated the majority of his money to the church, school and Town of Jaffrey. 

“The way I see the connection is that one of the greatest legacies of Amos Fortune is not only that he chose to live and work in Jaffrey, but that, upon his death, he chose to give a lot of his estate to the town and the schools,” Smith said. “Of course, the presentations are also free, and we like to think that we honor his legacy in that way.”

In addition to organizers being volunteers, the presenters volunteer their time as well.

“We depend on the generosity of donors to fund the operating expenses of putting it on,” Smith said.

Although the events will be in person again, there will also be livestreams and video recordings available on the Amos Fortune Forum’s YouTube and Facebook pages. Amid the excitement of being back in-person this year, Smith hopes the livestreams continue for the sake of accessibility, as it allows generations of families who may have moved away from Jaffrey to continue enjoying the tradition. 

“At this point it’s moved well past the local community,” he said. “Hopefully will continue to have livestreams moving forward.”

Following the first presentation on July 8, the Amos Fortune Forum will continue to hold events every Friday at 8 p.m. through August. Vaccination against COVID-19 will be required to attend the events in person, and masks will be strongly recommended. To see the rest of the schedule, visit amosfortune.com.


Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, your source for Peterborough area news.

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

20 Grove St.
Peterborough, NH 03458


© 2021 Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy