Saturday, September 3, 2016

So Who Was Mildred Greensfelder?

Not too long ago we spent a week in Provincetown, Massachusetts.  Almost every evening we visited the Mildred Greensfelder Playground adoring our favorite two-year-old as he climbed and ran and laughed.  It's a wonderful playground.  Each evening in addition to admiring my grandson I wondered who, exactly, was Mildred Greensfelder and what did she do to get a park named in her honor.
There isn't much information available about old Mildred.  However, I did learn something about her activism in a book called "Provincetown:  From Pilgrim Landing to Gay Resort" written by Karen Christel Krahulik who is almost as obscure as Mildred Greensfelder.  Anyway, Ms. Krahulik tells us that in March, 1949, a guy named Edward Roach set off a firestorm in Provincetown because he said that the high school's play depicted people of color in a racist manner.  Mr. Roach did acknowledge that there was probably no harm intended but nevertheless harm was committed.  A lot of P-Town residents strongly, dare I say vehemently,  objected to Roach's comments.  Mildred Greensfelder was apparently one of the many voices shouting down Roach's concerns.  She stated the belief that rather than being critical the town should embrace all attempts to accept and encourage diversity and that the play whether or not it succeeded made that attempt.  She concluded her published remarks by reminding people that the Provincetown residents should always embrace gaiety and laughter.
And so they have.
Right on, Mildred and thanks to Karen Christel Krahulik for shedding a little insight into the life of the woman in whose honor children laugh and play.

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