A Change Gon’ Come…sooner than later!

Auburn, NY crackled with the spirit, vitality and legacy of Harriet Tubman as the Harriet Tubman Boosters Club in partnership with The Seward House Museum and Women’s Rights National Historical Park kicked off its “Harriet Tubman: No Longer Underground” Symposium from November 8-9, 2013 at Cayuga Community College.  The symposium championed several noted scholars and authors who spoke about their latest research on Tubman; provided programs for educators to enhance their school curriculum offerings regarding Tubman, as well as site visits and tours to the Tubman Home, Seward Museum and National Women’s Rights National Historical Park. 

Dr. Kate Clifford Larson, keynote speaker

The symposium also included a Keynote Banquet at the Springside Inn on Friday evening where bill berry, jr., aaduna’s publisher and CEO of aaduna, Inc., served as master of ceremonies.  Dr. Kate Clifford Larson was the distinguished keynoter.  Her topic was “Harriet Tubman’s Promised Land: Her Life and Times in Auburn, New York,” which concluded with rousing applause and appreciation from the banquet’s guests.  After Larson’s talk, Raymond Nat Turner, a poet and performance artist from Harlem, NY delivered a poignant jazz inspired and melodic influenced poem titled “Help, Help Mama Harriet, Help.”    

The Finest! Performance Troupe presented, "A Change Gon' Come at Cayuga Community College, Auburn, NY

The pre-symposium activity was just as special with The Finest! Performance Troupe from Rockville, Maryland presenting “A Change Gon’ Come” a riveting multi-media stage production based on the life of Harriet Tubman at the college’s Irene A. Bisgrove Community Theatre.  The performance was written by Kashi-Tara; directed and choreographed by Kashi-Tara and Kelly Chauncey, and produced by Karen Rawlins. 

The performance was funded by the Cayuga Community College Foundation, Inc.

With little fanfare and no public knowledge, Kelly Chauncey reached out to bill berry over a year ago after “discovering” bill’s presence on the Internet; seeing discussions about Centennial plans on “aaduna notes” and a link about the Boosters Club, that aaduna posted on its site.  bill provided advice and then shared the troupe’s interest with Tubman centennial planners.  Through the resultant negotiations that often exists as producers try to bring theatre to a new audience, the stage play eventually found its way to Auburn.  The diligence and stewarding provided by Marty McKay, a long-standing staff member of the Cayuga Community College Foundation helped to make the production happen.      

Kashi-Tara & Kelly Chauncey
Before returning to Maryland, berry arranged to take the troupe to visit and pay respects at the Tubman gravesite located in Fort Hill Cemetery.  Afterwards, bill then proceeded to get two passenger vans, a touring bus and private cars to the Tubman Home on South Street where Christine Carter (co-manager of the site with her husband, the  Reverend Paul G. Carter, who was at the College video documenting the symposium’s proceedings) welcomed them and lead them through the Home’s Tubman exhibition.

The Finest! Performance Troupe, Harriet Tubman's Gravesite, Fort Hill Cemetary, Auburn, NY

Each member of the troupe received a framed poem written by aaduna contributor, Cyd Charisse Fulton with artwork by Susan Keeter.  Fulton wrote “Forbidden Fruit” “in honor of the 2013 centennial celebration of Harriet Tubman for the students of Genesee Elementary School and their project, ‘Apple Trees for Harriet Tubman."

The symposium weekend and all its varied activities were the results of the hard work of Rosemarie Romano and Laurel Ullyette champions of equity, pertinent community education and social justice in Auburn joined by several others on the symposium planning committee and boosters club.

For more information, including your willingness to donate, or just words of encouragement, please contact:

Karen Rawlins, producer/manager of “A Change Gon’ Come”

Info about the symposium, participating scholars, authors, the keynote speaker or the ongoing work of the Harriet Tubman Boosters Club, please reach out to: 
Rosemarie Romano:
Laurel Ullyette:

aaduna is always reachable via info@aaduna.org


  1. Our heartfelt thanks to Bill Berry for his significant contributions to the "Harriet Tubman: No Longer Underground" Centennial Symposium. Not only did he give us valuable planning advice, he also served as the Master of Ceremonies at our Keynote Banquet, recommended to us "A Change Gon' Come," the thrilling multimedia theatrical production which became a perfect kickoff to the weekend events. He did a real service to the young cast members by taking them to the Harriet Tubman gravesite to pay their respects to the woman they had so movingly portrayed and celebrated in their production. And finally, he brought to our attention Raymond Nat Turner, whose deep admiration and respect for Harriet Tubman brought him on a long and difficult journey to Auburn, New York, where he delivered an impassioned, beautiful poem about Harriet Tubman to our assembled guests. Truly, by introducing the arts into what might have been simply a scholarly conference, Bill Berry made this event a much richer experience than it would have been without his help


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