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January 29, 2010

CW's Black History Month programs illuminate live of 18th-century African Americans who fought for their freedom

During Black History Month in February, guests to Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area and the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg can explore African American history and culture.

Programs throughout the month offer dramatic interpretations and compelling discussions to illuminate how 18th-century African Virginians fought for their individual and collective freedom in the face of a slave society and include:

  • Freedom to Slavery, 10:30, 11 and 11:30 a.m. and noon, Feb. 6, 13, 21 and 27, Millinery Shop. Hear the story of Elizabeth, an enslaved African American woman forced back into slavery after living free with the Shawnee Indians on the western frontier. Any Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area admission pass allows guests to enjoy this program. A free reservation is required and can be made at any Colonial Williamsburg ticket outlet.
  • Two Worlds, One Roof, One Law, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Feb. 20, Peyton Randolph House. Explore the paradox of American freedom and slavery by contrasting the perspectives of Peyton and Elizabeth Randolph with those of Eve, Johnny and some of the other 27 enslaved people in their household. Discover how the events of the Revolutionary War impacted these two worlds in very different ways.
  • Oyer and Terminer: The Trial of Mary, a Slave, 3 and 3:45 p.m., Feb. 20, Courthouse. Witness the trial of Mary, a slave accused of murder. Discover the startling facts behind this case. Not appropriate for young audiences. Any Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area admission pass allows guests to enjoy this program.
  • God Is My Rock, 2 p.m., Feb. 21 and 28, DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. Gowan Pamphlet, a slave known locally as a popular preacher, offers his perspective on slavery, religion and freedom. Any Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area admission pass or museum ticket allows guests to enjoy this program. A free reservation is required and can be made at any Colonial Williamsburg ticket outlet.

    The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum features African American Folk Art at 3 p.m. Tuesdays, Feb. 2-23 and Thursdays, Feb. 4-25. Guests can explore 18th- and 19th-century folk art created by or depicting African Americans. The guided tour will delve into what the art tells us about their lives.

    An African American quilt maker will be the topic of Emma Russell’s Quilt at 1:30 p.m. Fridays, Feb. 5-26 at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. Young visitors also can explore their creativity with a hands-on activity.

    Footsteps of the Slave Trade in Williamsburg discusses the hidden presence of the transatlantic slave trade in the 18th-century capital of Virginia at 2 p.m. on Feb. 20 in the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum.

    A Colonial Williamsburg admissions ticket or museum pass provides access to these programs.

    Programs and exhibitions at The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum are supported by the DeWitt Wallace Endowment Fund.

    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, Altria Client Services, AT&T, Philip Morris and IBM has helped make Colonial Williamsburg’s African American History programs possible.

    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. 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 www.history.org.

    Media Contact:
    Penna Rogers
    (757) 220-7121



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