Carlisle Mayor Tim Scott said he was “amazed and humbled” when he visited the new exhibit at Dickinson College’s House Divided project and saw the contributions of African Americans connected to Dickinson College, so he invited professor Matthew Pinsker to make a presentation to the council on the topic.
The Dickinson & Slavery project is part of a multiyear effort to look at slavery and at anti-slavery movements connected to the college, Pinsker said.
“The community and the college were at the forefront of the fight to destroy slavery, and there were people on both sides of that equation,” he said.
Pinsker said the most rewarding experience was finding the stories of formerly enslaved people who became “incredibly important” to the college and the borough, including those who became town leaders shaping the community after the Civil War.
One of those stories was that of Robert Young, who was the longest serving employee at Dickinson College until this year, Pinsker said. Young fought to have his son enrolled in the college and went to the national press when the college stonewalled him.
Young’s son spent about a year on campus, which went unrecorded in college records.
“We only rediscovered it because of digital databases. It wasn’t something we found in the archives,” Pinsker said.
The House Divided project is finalizing a report intended to prompt conversations on campus about how to commemorate these people from the past.
“These figures were important in the town and the college. The question is what do we want to do in the community to remember,” Pinsker said.
It’s a question that Pinsker and Scott want to see addressed in the Carlisle community.
“The exhibit and the accompanying report represents a genuine effort to address the Carlisle community’s complicated history with race,” Scott said.
Both give rise to a conversation that “while uncomfortable is an important one to have,” he said.
The borough council authorized its solicitor to draw up an agreement between the borough and Cumberland Youth Cycling Development to install a pump track at Valley Meadows Park. The agreement is subject to the organization raising the funds for the track’s design, construction and maintenance as well as providing insurance.
After discussing the plan with the borough’s parks and recreation board, representatives of CYCD presented the plan to the borough council at its workshop meeting last week.
A pump track is a self-contained bicycle circuit with features like hills and curves that can be ridden without pedaling by riders of all skill levels.