Black History Weekend
Celebrate Black History Month by learning about their role in early 19th-century New England.
Tammy Denease will portray Elizabeth Keckly on Saturday (Feb. 23). Elizabeth Keckly, a former enslaved woman, purchased her and her son George's freedom for $1,200. After receiving her freedom she would become known as the couturier of her time. As a mantua maker, Lizzy would dress the elite in the finest of fashion.
Lizzy would also be instrumental in helping to get the Contraband Relief Association established in this nation's capitol. This organization provided proper housing, clothes and food to help newly freed, wandering, ex-slaves who had nowhere else to go. At the end of the Civil War the name was changed to The Freedmen and Soldiers Relief Association. Lizzy also helped to establish The Home for Destitute Colored Women and Girls and was a a confidante to Mary Todd Lincoln and an informal advisor to the sixteenth president.
On Sunday (Feb. 24), Tammy will portray Sarah Margru. One of four children held captive on the schooner Amistad, Margru would miss the rite of passage (Sande Society) into adulthood in her native Mendeland (now Sierre Leone).
After gaining freedom through a victory in the United States legal system, Margru would go on to become the first African to graduate from college in America (Oberlin College, Ohio). Life in a strange country causes Margru to become westernized, refusing to live according to the custom of her homeland.
Kelvin Williams will be portraying Guy Scott, the African American foreman of the Sturbridge leadmine. (Both days).
Andre Keitt will be giving presentating "Keys to the Keepers," (Saturday and Sunday) a presentation about American slaves and their descendants keeping hold to their African culture, through storytelling and folklore. This talk delves into the migration of the African Oral Tradition from its place of inception, the motherland of Africa, to its arrival on the shores of early America.
(Saturday only) Visit with re enactors portraying soldiers from the 54th Massachusetts Regiment from the Civil War, which saw extensive service in the Union Army during the American Civil War. The regiment was one of the first official African American units in the United States during the Civil War.
On both days, visitors can learn more about licorice and how it was used as an African American remedy and make a simple traditional African game to bring home with you.