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Humanities Texas Program Announced

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The History Center and Humanities Texas invite you to experience Riders on the Orphan Trains, a multimedia presentation on the orphan trains and their young riders, with Alison Moore and Phil Lancaster, on Thursday evening, September 6 at 7:00 p.m.
      ABOUT THE ORPHAN TRAINS: Between 1854 and 1929, over 250,000 orphans and unwanted children of the urban poor from New York City were "placed out" on trains heading west by the Children's Aid Society of New York. Texas received at least 1,200 of these children, with the last train going to Sulphur Springs in 1929. This nearly eighty-year experiment in child relocation and rehabilitation is filled with both horror stories and happy endings. The trains stopped in pre-selected towns where people interested in taking a child would assemble. The children were lined up on the platform or a meeting hall stage, encouraged to perform or sing to endear them to prospective takers and were inspected, often prodded and poked to determine whether or not they would be good workers on farms or local businesses. Children not chosen were put back on the train and many were shuttled from family to family and town to town. Until the release of a 1995 documentary on PBS's The American Experience, these children's stories were largely untold.
      THE PROGRAM: Humanities scholar and author Alison Moore and musician Phil Lancaster will present a one-hour multimedia program, combining literature, music, and audio visual components based on research at the Orphan Train Heritage Society of America, Inc. The program is designed for general audiences of all ages and continues with a question and answer session and dialogue between presenters and audience.

     Come join us for this special presentation, made possible in part by a grant from Humanities Texas, the state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.