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June 10, 2010

CW museum program examines Princes Without a Palace

Thousands of African captives, including captured princes, were transported to colonial Virginia and sold as slaves. Discover the hidden connections between the Atlantic slave trade and Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area sites and programs. Follow the journey of African princes and captives during the program, Princes Without a Palace: Tracing African Princes and Captives in Williamsburg, at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. Guests can take advantage of one of the following presentations 3 p.m. Thursday, June 17, July 1, 8, 15, Aug. 12, 19 and Sept. 2.

Did the princes utilize their knowledge and experiences of African and European culture to survive? Examine how language, literacy and international relationships in the Atlantic World influenced their existence in the colonies. With the help of slides and video excerpts from Colonial Williamsburg’s Electronic Field Trip, “The Slave Trade,” a historian will narrate the events surrounding the Atlantic World of Africa, Europe and North America on the eve of the American Revolution.

Princes Without a Palace provides insight into the international slave trading relationship between Africans in Calabar, West Africa and European ship captains in England. Connecting the interactions of the three continents of the Atlantic World were seamen of European and African descent, like an African named Olaudah Equiano. Equiano like many seamen participated in the international network of slavery, slave trade and abolition.

This program is part of Colonial Williamsburg’s Equiano Forum on Early African American History and Culture which seeks to broaden the public knowledge about African and African American history and culture in Virginia and the Atlantic World during the American Revolutionary Era. Author of a best-selling 1789 autobiography, “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa the African,” Equiano’s life experiences in the 18th-century Atlantic World is the basis for diverse research and presentations.

Admission included in all Historic Area or museum admission passes.

Colonial Williamsburg’s African American programming has been made possible thanks to the generous support of Mr. and Mrs. Richard D. Parsons, Douglas N. Morton and Marilyn L. Brown, the Norfolk Southern Corporation, the Charles E. Culpeper Endowments in Arts and Culture of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Altria Client Services, AT&T, Philip Morris and IBM.

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

Entrance to Colonial Williamsburg Art Museums is through the Public Hospital of 1773 at 326 W. Francis St. For information, call (757) 220-7724.

The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg include the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum is home to the nation’s premier collection of American folk art, with more than 5,000 folk art objects made during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum exhibits the best in British and American decorative arts from 1670–1830.

The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg are located at the intersection of Francis and South Henry Streets in Williamsburg, Va., and are entered through the Public Hospital of 1773. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. For museum program information, telephone (757) 220-7724.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural 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 website at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121