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Nobel Prize winner returns to Brattleboro; will be recognized in historical audio tour series

Published: Oct. 2, 2020 at 8:07 PM EDT
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BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (WCAX) - A Nobel Peace Prize winner was celebrated Friday at the Brattleboro elementary school she attended in the late ’50s and early ’60s. It was all part of a project to document the history of the area for a series of audio tours.

Jody Williams grew up in Brattleboro and attended the Green Street School from 1957 to 1962. On Friday the school honored her with a plaque in front of the building, commemorating her 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for founding and leading the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.

Williams spoke to about her memories of picking up the award in Oslo, Norway, and answered questions. She also spoke with our Scott Fleishman.

Williams now works to spotlight and promote the work of grassroots women’s organizations all around the world. Friday’s event was about a two-year process. The plaque is part of a march larger project by the Brattleboro Words Project. Starting at the end of November, you can download an app for your phone, then either drive, walk or bike to about 50 sites in the area. Once there, the app will play a recorded segment about the place or the people who made history at the site. Jody Williams' plaque at the Green Street School is one of the sites on the tour.

“When visitors go, they’ll learn all about Brattleboro and why it’s such a special place. But when natives from the area, people who live here, hear these stories, it enriches your life here so much. You just really start seeing more clearly why this area feels so special. And I can just see people out on their bikes doing the Nobel Peace Prize winner trail and the African American writer trail, and the Abenaki sites trail. All of them will be present on our maps,” said Lissa Weinmann, the coordinator of the project.

For the past three years, the Brattleboro Words Project has been been working with students and residents to research some of these sites. They may appear to be ordinary on the outside, but they’re filled with history. And the sites along the tour aren’t limited to Brattleboro, there are towns in New Hampshire and places throughout Windham County.

The National Endowment for the Humanities provided resources, financial and otherwise, to help make this happen.

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