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February 26, 2006

African-American patriots, loyalists seek "The Road to Freedom" during CW's Black History Weekend February 24-26

Experience the American Revolution through the eyes of free and enslaved 18th-century African Americans during Colonial Williamsburg’s Black History Month celebration February 24-26. Dramatic interpretive programs will revolve around the theme “The Road to Freedom” that brings to life stories of the African-American struggle for freedom and liberty during this tumultuous period in American history.

Programming for the 2006 Black History Month Celebration has been sponsored by the Norfolk Southern Corporation.

During these three days, well-crafted special focus programs help guests develop a more refined understanding of how the Revolution impacted the African-American quest for equality.

Friday, February 24

  • The Equiano Lecture Series: A Call to Arms: Stories of African-American Freedom Fighters during the American Revolution, 6:30 p.m., DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. Noted scholars Mary Louis Clifford, Sylvia Fry and Louis Wilson discuss African Americans who participated in the American Revolutionary War. Funding for the Equiano Lecture Series has been provided by a generous grant from the AT&T Foundation.

    Saturday, February 25

  • God Save the King, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Gaol. Encounter enslaved men Joe and Dick and discover how their quest for freedom landed them in the Williamsburg Publick Gaol.
  • A Long Cold Walk, 1:30 p.m., Gaol to Courthouse. Witness the march of Joe and Dick from the Gaol to the Courthouse, where they will be questioned by the local authorities about their efforts to join the British army.
  • The Examination of Joe & Dick, Black Loyalists, 2, 2:45 and 3:30 p.m., Courthouse. Members of the Williamsburg Committee of Safety listen to the testimonies of Joe and Dick and render their judgment.
  • Freedom to Slavery, 2-4 p.m., Millinery Shop. Hear the compelling story of Elizabeth, an enslaved African-American woman, forced back into slavery after living free with the Shawnee Indians on the western frontier.
  • Everybody’s Shoutin’, 7 p.m., DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. Learn how religion and spirituality help Henry and Celia cope with the absence of their families, who they have been separated from by slavery.

    Sunday, February 26

  • The General’s Right-Hand, 10 a.m.-noon, Mary Stith Shop. Meet James Armistead, an enslaved double-spy and other African-American spies, as they deliver information about the movements of British troops to the American officers.
  • Slavery and Manumission Special Focus Tour, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Capitol. On this tour of the Capitol, discover how enslaved African Americans fought to obtain their freedom by petitioning the Virginian courts and the legislature.
  • Created Equal But Treated Differently, 1:30 p.m., DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. Meet Lydia Broadnax, former enslaved cook of George Wythe, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, in an unforgettable presentation that illustrates her thoughts regarding freedom and equality.
  • Change is Coming! 3 p.m., DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. Participate in the worship service and listen as Gowan Pamphlet, a free Baptist minister, delivers a sermon proclaiming that American freedom cannot thrive without ending American slavery.
  • Salute to the Black Soldiers of the American Revolution, 4:30 p.m., Market Square. Take part in this commemorative event which celebrates the contributions and the legacy of African-American patriots and loyalists of the American Revolutionary War. See Colonial Williamsburg’s Fifes and Drums and black re-enactors of the Rhode Island regiment performing manual exercises, followed by musket and cannon volleys.

    Media Contact:
    Penna Rogers
    (757) 220-7121



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