Weekend Planner: Fete
In New Rochelle, N.Y., where the fiery American patriot Thomas Paine was buried in 1809, efforts have been underway to reunite Paine’s bones, which were subsequently unearthed and eventually lost or scattered (someone in France claims to have rib, a descendant in Australia says he has the skull, an Englishwoman swears she’s got the jawbone). Parallel to that enterprise, the Amherst-based Thomas Paine Friends — founded by former New Rochelle residents Irwin and Martha Spiegelman — has been working for the past decade to restore the author of “Common Sense” and “The Rights of Man” to his proper place in history, including his role in drafting the Declaration of Independence. TPF has so far succeeded in getting a resolution through the Massachusetts state legislature to designate Paine’s birthday (Jan. 29, 1737) as Thomas Paine Day — an anniversary the group will observe on Saturday beginning at 11 a.m. in the Woodbury Room of the Jones Library, 43 Amity Street, Amherst. In connection with Paine’s wide-ranging Enlightenment notions, Representative James McGovern will be on hand to discuss Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and government assistance for the elderly, the needy, children and veterans in the context of basic human rights. Discussion, music and birthday cake follow. The celebration is free and all are welcome.
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