Author and historian Mark C. Bodanza recently paid a visit to the Boys and Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster to discuss his newly released book “Resolve and Rescue.”
“Resolve and Rescue” tells the story of a woman from Leominster, Frances Drake, born in 1814, who worked for decades to end slavery and contributed tirelessly to the abolitionist movement.
Greeted with cheers and applause by the children of the BGCFL, Bodanza explained the history of slavery, the abolitionist movement, and the remarkable life of Drake.
In 1841, after living in Boston for a period of time, Drake returned to her hometown of Leominster with her husband, purchasing a home on 21 Franklin St. The Drakes’ antislavery involvement began in Boston and gained momentum in Leominster. Believing strongly in the abolitionist movement, the Drakes helped escaped slaves. Their home on Franklin Street was a stop on the Underground Railroad.
Frances Drake, along with other local women, organized lectures and circulated petitions to promote the abolitionist movement. The women also raised funds for the movement through the sale of combs produced by Leominster manufacturers to be sold at the Boston fair.
Character and leadership are core values taught at the BGCFL. Club youth participate in programs and activities that help them become responsible, caring citizens and encourage them to develop leadership skills. By sharing the story of Frances Drake, who took a stand against slavery when others looked away, BGCFL youth learned that great character and leadership are qualities within all of us that create positive change in the world.
Through his book and the telling of Drake’s life, Bodanza brought inspiration to the youth at BGCFL. Drake was persistent, revolutionary, and bold — a woman who clearly demonstrated the qualities of great character and leadership.
Martin Connors, president and CEO of Rollstone Bank & Trust, was also in attendance for the presentation of “Resolve and Rescue.” Connors was on hand to present 50 copies of “Resolve and Rescue” generously donated on behalf of Rollstone Bank to the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, located at 365 Lindell Ave. in Leominster.