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A Celebration of the Life and Legacy of Brother Blue
Sunday, July 11th
4pm – 7pm
Brattle Plaza, Harvard Square
“Stories can change the world. They come from the middle of the middle of me to the middle of the middle of you.”
The Harvard Square Business Association, in partnership with the City of Cambridge, Cambridge Arts Council, Councillor E. Denise Simmons and Katie Green, is delighted to announce an evening commemorating the life and legacy of legendary storyteller Brother Blue on what would be his 100th birthday. A plaque dedicated to Blue and his wife Ruth Edmonds Hill will be unveiled on Brattle Plaza in the heart of Harvard Square. To complement the festivities, the Harvard Square ‘house band’, aptly called The Squares in the Square, will perform and guests will be treated to a complimentary meal and a blue butterfly-emblazoned birthday cake.
Brother Blue, (Hugh Morgan Hill July 12, 1921 – November 3, 2009), left an indelible and profound impact on millions of people throughout his storied career. Hill was a First Lieutenant in the segregated United States Army during World War II. After the war, he received his bachelor’s degree at Harvard followed by an MFA at the Yale School of Drama. Hill brought his unique storytelling to stages across the world including England, Russia and the Bahamas. However, no other place was more synonymous with Brother Blue than the streets of Harvard Square. Bedecked in blue, including his iconic blue butterflies, he enchanted audiences young and old in his idiosyncratic, improvisational style, often with Ruth by side. He was the Official Storyteller of Cambridge and was posthumously awarded the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal at Harvard in 2009.
4:00 Music, cold drinks and mingle
4:15 City Councillor Denise Simmons
4:20 Remarks from Katie Green, Bruce Marcus, Helina Terefe, and others, as well as a statement from Susan Fleischmann
4:45 Commemorative plaque unveiled by Ruth Edmonds Hill
5:00 Dinner is served!
5:45 Birthday Cake!
6:00 Raise a glass to Brother Blue in our beer garden!
6:10 Music, Dancing and more mingling!
Storyteller Katie Green conceived of the idea for the plaque honoring Brother Blue and Ruth Hill and has seen it through its fruition. Green stated, “Brother Blue’s spiritual connection to storytelling and Ruth Hill’s steadfast presence changed my life for the better. I truly believe, as Blue said, ‘that stories can change the world’ ”.
Councillor Simmons remarked, “Brother Blue was a beloved performance artist and storyteller who entertained generations of children in Cambridge with his poetry and stories at festivals, in parks, prisons, classrooms, and throughout our community – he truly was our ‘Official Storyteller,’ and he helped breath so much life into Harvard Square, in particular. From his advocacy for the Cambridge Street Performer Program, to his work with the Cambridge Arts Council, to performing and entertaining audiences in the Square and around the City, Brother Blue was a true Cambridge institution, and it is only fitting that his life, his work, and his legacy be forever commemorated with this plaque in the heart of Harvard Square.”
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