In Pursuit of Equality
Colonial Williamsburg and Historic Jamestowne Present Special African American Interpretive Programs
August 5, 2011
On Aug. 13 and 14, Colonial Williamsburg and Historic Jamestowne programs explore the African American perspective in "In Pursuit of Equality." The two-day event exposes the strength and courage of African Americans of the past and addresses the complicated history of race and class in American history. As challengers of what constituted a democratic society, African Americans were often excluded from rights and liberties due to racial divisions in society. These new programs address personal identity, society's perceptions of race, and the continuance of a thriving culture from Africa to the colonies. Programs will be presented at Historic Jamestowne and Colonial Williamsburg's Historic Area and Art Museums.
On Saturday, August 13, guests can participate in several on-site programs. "Faces of Rebellion" allows guests to experience the difficult choice enslaved men faced when promised freedom at the price of rebellion. The program is presented at the Memorial Church on the island at 2 and 3:30 p.m. "It Takes a Village" gives guests the opportunity to hear tales of heroes and tricksters, and learn how they impact West African life. The program is presented at the Memorial Church at 2:45 p.m. While on site, guests meet the Jamestown Rediscovery archaeologists who are on hand to provide information about the current fort excavations from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
The Arrival of Africans: The Legal & Illegal Slave Trade in the US
On Sunday, Aug. 14, Natalie S. Robertson of Hampton University discusses the arrival of the first Africans at Jamestown in August 1619 during "The Arrival of Africans: The Legal and Illegal Slave Trade in the U.S." She contrasts the experiences of the last Africans to be smuggled into the United States. Her latest work, "The Slave Ship Clotilda and the Making of AfricaTown, U.S.A.: Spirit of Our Ancestors," documents the plight of more than 100 Africans smuggled into Alabama in 1860 and their community's traditions and activities into the 20th century. Robertson is an award-winning scholar who has held several teaching and research appointments at prestigious institutions in the United States and in Britain. The program will take place at 2 p.m. at the Historic Jamestowne Visitor Center.
These programs are free with paid admission to Historic Jamestowne. The admission fee of $10 per adult includes both Historic Jamestowne and Yorktown Battlefield. Children under age 16 are admitted free. America the Beautiful National Parks passes are accepted and Preservation Virginia members also are admitted free. For further information, call (757) 229-4997 or (757) 898-2410.
In "The Curse of Ham: The Bible and Slavery" guests can learn how Noah's biblical curse of Ham was used to justify the slave trade and human bondage from the 16th to the 19th centuries. The program takes place at Colonial Williamsburg's DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, 326 W. Francis St., from 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13. Admission is included in all Historic Area or museum admission passes.
"African American Music" takes guests through the grounds of the Colonial Williamsburg's Great Hopes Plantation to explore the diverse nature of African American musical culture in colonial Virginia. Saturday, Aug. 13 at 7:30 and 9 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children under six.
In "Freedom to Slavery" guests 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. The program takes place at the Milliner Shop at 2, 2:30, 3 and 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14. Admission is included with any Historic Area Admission pass. (Make free reservations at any ticket sales location.)
In "Jane's Struggle" a woman of mixed heritage struggles with her racial identity and the nuances of a society where her complexion can be both beneficial and harmful. Sunday, Aug. 14 at Mary Stith House at 3, 3:30, 4 and 4:30 p.m. Admission included with any Historic Area pass. (Make free reservations at any ticket sales location.)
Colonial Williamsburg's African American programming is made possible through 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, IBM and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
"In Pursuit of Equality" is presented jointly by The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and Historic Jamestowne.