MILFORD — Iconic civil rights leader Dr. Mary Frances Berry will be in conversation with Congressman Matt Cartwright, Pa. – 8th Dist., at the fourth annual Milford Readers & Writers Festival to discuss “organizing for change” in the contemporary political climate. The session is co-sponsored by the Monroe County Chapter of the NAACP.

Berry has been one of the most visible activists in the cause of civil rights, gender equality and social justice for nearly 50 years, including chairing the U.S. Civil Rights Commission during four presidential administrations. In 2013 she received the Nelson Mandela Award from the South African government for her 1984 role in co-founding the Free South Africa Movement, which helped to end apartheid. Since 1987 she has been the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought, History and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where she teaches legal history.

In her latest book, “History Teaches Us to Resist: How Progressive Movements Have Succeeded in Challenging Times,” Berry recounts many of the protests in which she was active, analyzes their organizing strategies and considers the lessons to be learned from them.

Cartwright serves in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing northeast Pennsylvania’s 8th District. He also has a University of Pennsylvania connection, as a graduate of its law school and having served as the editor of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review.

Earlier in 2019, the Center for Effective Lawmaking (CEL) named him among the top four most effective Democrats in the U.S. House for the 115th Congress. In the entire U.S. House, Cartwright is one of about a dozen members of both parties “who have been in the 'Exceeds Expectations' category for their entire congressional careers,” according to the CEL report.  

Berry and Cartwright’s conversation will focus on organizing for political change and social justice in our contemporary political climate. They will speak at the historic Milford Theatre at 114 East Catharine St. on Sunday, Sept. 22, from 2 to 3:15 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

The festival kicks off on Friday, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m., in the historic Milford Theatre with a talk with Lisa Lampanelli, formerly known as comedy's Lovable Queen of Mean due to her biting insult comedy and bawdy humor, who will appear as a special guest. Lampanelli will join in conversation with life coach and author Carol McManus about quitting stand-up and following her new path as the Queen of Meaning.

On Saturday, Sept. 21, the Main Stage will feature:

A conversation with best-selling author of historical fiction mysteries Anne Perry conducted by writer Victoria Zackheim;

Author and activist Helen Zia, whose book “Last Boat Out of Shanghai” covers a harrowing period in Chinese history and her mother’s life in the midst of it, will discuss the refugee experience with Princeton University professor Anne Anlin Cheng;



Jack Devine, former deputy director of the CIA, “spymaster,” and Pulitzer Prize-winner Tim Wiener, author of “Legacy of Ashes – the History of the CIA,” will compare notes on “The Company” in a conversation moderated by Lucian Truscott IV: and



The panel “Life in the Afterlife” featuring internationally acclaimed psychic/medium George Anderson author of “We Don’t Die” in conversation with Dr. Eben Alexander, author of “Proof of Heaven” talking about his near death experience, following up on the huge interest in last year’s discussion of the paranormal.

On Sunday, Sept. 22, the Main Stage will feature the discussion “Our Constitution Under Siege” between Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano and constitutional scholar and author Jeffrey Rosen, moderated by Milford Mayor Sean Strub.

Following this will be the conversation “In the Company of Legends,” with authors and award-winning television producers Joan Kramer and David Heeley who will share film clips and behind-the-scenes stories of famous personalities such as Elizabeth Taylor, Fred Astaire andKatharine Hepburn, whose lives they documented for television. They will be interviewed by film historian John DiLeo.

All Main Stage programs will include an opportunity for conversation between authors and the audience.

A limited number of festival passes valid for entry to all festival events as well as a private authors reception open only to pass holders are available for sale at the price of $200 per person on the website. Tickets for individual sessions are now available for $35 each. For more information about the festival and to purchase passes, go to milfordreadersandwriters.com 

In addition to the ticketed events, the festival also offers a variety of free programs, including the fantasy-themed science fiction panel “The Wide Worlds of Fantasy,” “Moral Lessons through Children's Books” and “Fun for Kids” at the Pike County Public Library.

Other free panels and activities around town include:

“Seeing the Forest Through the Trees: Finding Deeper Meaning in the Woods” at Grey Towers;


“Triumph Over Trauma III: Far Beyond Survival’;



“The ABC’s of Writing for Children”;



“Hook, Line and Sinker: How to Catch and Keep a Reader”;

“Rhythm and Rhyme in Poetry”;



“Romance – Love is in the Air”;



An open-mic event: “RAW After Dark”;

Science Fiction readings and beer tasting at the Dimmick Inn;


The “Fauchere Series” authors; and


A pop-up bookstore, conversations, book-signings with local writers, and more.

Photo caption: Dr. Mary Frances Berry and Rep. Matt Cartwright

ABOUT THE MILFORD READERS & WRITERS FESTIVAL

The Milford Readers & Writers Festival is a project of Pike Artworks, Inc., a 501-c-3 not-for-profit organized by a group of community volunteers from the Upper Delaware River Valley region. For more information, visit www.milfordreadersandwriters.com, or the festival’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MRWFestival/ or Instagram page at https://www.instagram.com/mrwfestival/.