10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Courses

  • AFRICA, BRIGHT AFRICA Through History, Culture, Current Events and Literature

    This course is based on the assumption that while you may know a little about affairs African, you want to know more. The course will be based on what you individually want to know and will expand from there. Knowledge of the geography is important, and a general outline of the multi-faceted history of the continent will be presented. As there are many histories connected to the continent, there are many cultures. Current events and literature inform both.

    Please make a list of things you’d like to know about Africa, and read the first 15 chapters of So Long a Letter (The chapters and the novel are short). Please obtain the following slim books: African History, A Very Short Introduction by John Parker and Richard Rathbone; African Politics, A Very Short Introduction by Ian Taylor: and So Long a Letter by Mariama Ba. New and used versions can be found on the website: Bookfinder.com

    Teacher: Brooks Goddard lived and taught in East Africa for three years, has repeatedly travelled to different parts of the continent over the past 25 years, and has read its history and literature over decades. He earned his B.A. at Williams College and his MA from Teachers College, Columbia University. He retired as English department head at Wellesley High School where he taught with his wife for 35 years.


    (Sessions 1-5) The first two lectures progress beyond last semester’s theme of “Great Trials” by discovering how Hollywood depictions of courtroom dramas help us better understand the trial process. Each movie scene will be accompanied by an insider’s view of the trial tactics and strategies employed. Then there will two lectures on Lincoln and Leadership. We conclude with a talk on Lincoln’s recently discovered strong ties to Massachusetts.

    • September 13 – 20:

      Hollywood and the Courtroom: The Anatomy of a Trial, Parts I and II

      We explore the power of storytelling and the impact of film to embody and inhabit the law and its relationship to ideas about injustice, liberty, citizenry, race, justice, crime, punishment and social order. This is accomplished by watching courtroom scenes from famous movies to discover why they are so powerful and what they teach us about the trial process.

    • September 27 and October 4:

      Lincoln on Leadership: Parts I and II

      In today’s sharply polarized America, we can take comfort in looking at Abraham Lincoln, a man who left an enduring legacy of leadership. Indeed, the test of a true leader can be found in a man who continues to inspire a country long after his own voice has faded to the echoes of time. We examine how, as a politician, Lincoln mastered the art of communication and compromise; and as a leader, envisioned a goal and attained it by tempering responsibility and determination with compassion and hope. At moments of great challenge, Lincoln was able to summon his “better angels” to enlarge the opportunities and lives of others.

    • October 18:

      Lincoln and Massachusetts

      When we think about Abraham Lincoln’s origins, we naturally turn to Illinois and Indiana where he and his immediate forebears lived. Surprisingly, our 16th president had strong and compelling family connections to Massachusetts, and this heritage provided a backdrop for what was to come. A key event in Lincoln’s life was an 1848 trip to Massachusetts, during which he so impressed powerful party leaders that he was invited to dine at Governor Levi Lincoln’s home. The story of that auspicious dinner party and its unintended results is worth retelling because it illustrates how one seminal event spurred Lincoln’s emotional and political growth.

    Teacher: The Honorable Dennis J. Curran, MA Superior Court Trial Justice (ret.), has presided over 450 civil and criminal trials. He currently teaches at Brown, and has taught at Tufts University and the Roger Williams School of Law. He is a fellow of the MA Historical Society and member of the national Board of Advisors of The Lincoln Forum.


    (Sessions 6-10) Starts October 25 WWLL is fortunate to have several highly distinguished local citizens and authors volunteer to share their time and expertise to give lectures on an eclectic array of very timely subjects, as listed below.

    • October 25:

      The Modern Electoral College: Function or Dysfunction by the Honorable Mitchell J. Sikora, Jr., former Associate Justice, MA Appeals Court (ret.)

      The presentation and discussion will address (1) the creation of the Electoral College by the text of the Constitution, (2) the modern operation of the College, (3) the practical political effect of “the winner takes all the states’ electoral votes” as maintained in 48 of the 50 states, and (4) proposals for reform of the present process.

      Mitchell Sikora is a native of Boston, attended its public schools and received his A.B., J.D., and LL.M. degrees from Boston area universities. He practiced for seven years as MA Assistant Attorney General specializing in constitutional and administrative law litigation in both the MA and Federal Courts, and then for 17 years as a private practitioner. He served for 10 years as a MA Superior Court judge and for eight years as a MA Appeals Court judge until the mandatory retirement age. He has served at various times as an adjunct instructor at Boston University Law School, Boston College Law School and New England School of Law.

    • November 1:

      Pushing the Envelope: A History of the U.S. Post Office Through Stamps by Henry Lukas

      Images of stamps from the first letters carried on the Boston Post Road, and events such as home delivery, the Pony Express, railroad mail, Civil War mail-in ballots, Rural Free Delivery, Parcel Post, air mail, ZIP codes, Forever stamps, and the impact of email on the PO’s current financial situation.

      Henry Lukas has a long background in education and community activities, and is currently educational director at the Spellman Museum of Stamps and Postal History at Regis College in Weston.

    • November 8:

      Some Advice for the New Mayor of Boston: Lessons Learned from 50 Years in Boston Politics by Lawrence S. DiCara, Esq.

      Boston just had a momentous mayoral election. Larry will provide some advice to the new mayor.

      Larry DiCara served for 10 years on the Boston City Council where he participated in many of the decisions that have made Boston the city it is today: Quincy Market, Copley Place and Charlestown Navy Yard, etc. He is a graduate of Boston Latin School, Harvard College, Suffolk Law School and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

    • November 15:

      Chasing the Thrill: Obsession, Death and Glory in America’s Most Extraordinary Treasure Hunt by Daniel Barbarisi

      This new non-fiction book describes the 10-year hunt by thousands for a $1 million treasure chest of gold objects hidden in the Rocky Mountains by Forrest Fenn, an ex-jet fighter pilot turned millionaire Sante Fe-based art and antiques dealer. To chronicle the bizarre hunt, during which at least five searchers died, the author himself was immersed for four years as a hunter until the chest was found in 2020.

      Daniel Barbarisi spent 20 years as a daily journalist for The Boston Globe, Providence Journal and Wall Street Journal and is now senior editor of The Athletic. He is also the author of a book about fantasy sports betting, Dueling With Kings. He lives in the Boston suburbs.

    • November 22:

      Jim Bridger: Trailblazer of the American West by Jerry Enzler

      Even among iconic frontiersmen like Daniel Boone and Kit Carson, the legendary Jim Bridger stands out. A mountain man of the American West, Bridger (1804-1881) excelled in the age of exploration, the Rocky Mountain fur trade, had a key trading post on the Oregon Trail, guided map-makers and Smithsonian scientists, scouted for the Army during the Plains Indian Wars, contended with the contentious Morman migration onslaught, and extolled the wonders of Yellowstone to all. He lived a free life in a wild country and was an initial candidate for Mount Rushmore.

      Jerry Enzler is the creator and founding director of the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, a 14-acre, Smithsonian-affiliated campus in Dubuque, Iowa, for which he was awarded two honorary doctorate degrees. He has produced several museum films and created museum scripts and exhibits that have been viewed by more than 4 million people.

    Course Organizers: Bruce Belason and the Honorable Dennis J. Curran (ret.)


    Poetry for the People XVI will emphasize the form, rhythm and rhyme so many of us associated with poetry as we first experienced it. The sounds, cadence and structure that distinguished poetry from prose will return from the past. Poems such as Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan” and Keats’ “To Autumn” should resonate with those who wish to revisit traditional verse. As with other Poetry for the People classes, this one will benefit from the contributions class members add to the discussions.

    Teacher: Chuck Kamar received his bachelor’s from Boston State and his master’s from Boston University. He taught for 34 years in the Newton Public Schools, the last 20 at Newton North High School. In 1998 he won the Paul E. Elicker Award for Excellence in Teaching.


    An hour of conversation for students of German and for German speakers. Basic knowledge of the German language is necessary. We read stories, newspaper/magazine articles and poems. Participants write short essays, which we correct in class and use as a basis to review or teach grammar points. Talents represented in the group make for a lively class.

    Teacher: Renate Olsen, B.A., M.A. New York State University at Albany, has taught English and German in high school; Fulbright scholarship in Germany.