Steve Strimer
Steve Strimer graduated from Amherst College in 1973. In 1977 he co-founded the worker cooperative Aldebaran Press which became Common Wealth Printing in 1982. He organized the Progressive Printers Network which held its first National Conference in Cleveland in 1988. In 1990, Steve was appointed by Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis as the worker cooperative representative on the Employee Involvement and Ownership advisory board. In 1997 he left Common Wealth Printing to join Collective Copies in Amherst. He worked on the committee that established the successful Florence branch where he continues to work. He has spearheaded the establishment of Collective Copies' publishing wing, Levellers Press which produced Slavery in the Connecticut Valley of Massachusetts by Robert H. Romer as its inaugural edition in 2009. In 1997, guided by the research of Paul Gaffney and Christopher Clark he began to study the nineteenth-century “utopian” community, the Northampton Association of Education and Industry, a commune of abolitionists and social reformers that preceded the founding of the village of Florence. That year he joined the Sojourner Truth Memorial Statue Committee. With members of the Florence History Project he identified the then forgotten homes of Sojourner Truth, David Ruggles, Basil Dorsey, Henry Anthony, Joseph Willson, Ezekiel Cooper and Elisha Hammond. He has been a member of the Massachusetts Underground Railroad Network since 2001. He leads walking tours of UGRR and abolition era sites in Florence. He received the Citizens Preservation Award from the Northampton Historic Commission in 2007 and the Paragon Award for Community Enrichment for his work on abolition era Florence in 2008. That year he co-founded The David Ruggles Center for Early Florence History and Underground Railroad Studies and worked with the Northampton Historical Commission to preserve a former mill workers house that had been slated for demolition. He wrote the application to the Community Preservation Committee which approved $150,000 toward purchase of the house and its conversion to a museum/education center. The house is now home to the David Ruggles Center.
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