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August 4, 2009

Evening program explores the struggles of enslaved families

Colonial Williamsburg adds an evening program that portrays 18th-century African American endeavors to find solace and security in the face of slavery during Jumpin’ the Broom.

Since slave marriages were not legally recognized, enslaved couples traditionally “jumped the broom” to convey the idea of marriage to the rest of the community. In this program a young couple must decide the best course for their relationship given the constraints of slavery. With marriage being just one of the many rights forbidden them, this couple and their community are faced with a tenuous status in life which denies them control over their own destiny. Should the couple marry and risk building a family they cannot protect? Or, despite their love for one another, should they stay apart to shield themselves from the painful possibility of loss and separation that were a daily reality in the world of slavery?

Guests are invited to discover how they resolve this dilemma and if they can find some hope for the future at 6 and 7:30 p.m. at Great Hopes Plantation on Saturdays through Nov. 21 (except Oct. 24).

The program is not suitable for young audiences. Tickets are $12.

This program is part of the celebration of the 30th anniversary of Colonial Williamsburg’s African American programs throughout 2009.

Colonial Williamsburg’s African American History programs are made possible by the generous support of Mr. and Mrs. Richard D. Parsons, Douglas N. Morton and Marilyn L. Brown, the Norfolk Southern Corporation and the Charles E. Culpeper Endowments in Arts and Culture of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, AT&T, Philip Morris and IBM.

Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society and culture – stories of our journey to become Americans – while historic trades people research, demonstrate and preserve the 18th-century world of work and industry. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution guests interact with history through “Revolutionary City®” – a dramatic live street theater presentation.

Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121