Living history is a style of instructive and entertaining performance that seeks to bring history to life with the use of costumes, tools, and reenactments appropriate to a specific time period. Done well, living history performances illuminate human experience in powerful, unforgettable ways.
The fifteen living history plays in this collection were commissioned by museums and historic sites in Texas to show the interdependence of African American experiences and contributions to the living history of Texas. The plays cover subject matter ranging from slave celebrations, family breakups, and running away, to the Civil War, emancipation, and Reconstruction. Each play is research based and performed by Talking Back Living History Theatre as a festival production. These scripts are easily performed, and author Naomi Mitchell Carrier has included production notes in the overviews that precede each play. Lesson plans are also included, which add to the collection's appeal as a classroom tool.
Carrier's talent for bringing historical figures to life is exceptional. The names of most primary characters in these plays are real. By giving them faces, feelings, intelligence, and dignity, Carrier aims to give them new life.
Naomi Mitchell Carrier is an independent scholar, playwright, and performer. She is the founder and CEO of the Texas Center for African American Living History and co-founder of Talking Back Living History Theatre.
Part I: Celebrations
Jumpin' Juba: Uncle Bubba and Mammy Bell Jump de Broom
Christmas at Varner-Hogg: Patton Plantation Memories
Part II: Family Breakup
Arcy Makes Room for Judith Martin: The Breakup of a Slave Family
A Little Slave for Sale--Cheap!
Sweet By and By: Barrington Farm Chronicle
Part III: Running Away
Arcy Attempts Escape
Fugitives of Passion: On the Underground Railroad to Mexico
Part IV: Battles
Hell or High Water: Brit Bailey Heads Off Stephen F. Austin
Still Am A'Risin': The Battle of Velasco and the Vigil at Bolivar
Part V: Civil War
Plantation Liendo: Civil War Reenactment
Cane Cutter Country: The Saga of the Lake Jackson Plantation
Part VI: Emancipation
Slav'ry Chain Done Broke at Las'
Porch Politics: Sam Houston Style
Part VII: Reconstruction
Social Politics in Victorian Texas: A Living History Interpretation of African Americans and Their Responsibilities
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