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October 1, 2004

Pulitzer Prize Winner Rhys Isaac joins CW's Rex Ellis for an evening of living history

Colonial Williamsburg will present “Uneasy Kingdoms: The Narratives of Landon Carter & Jeremy Prophet,” a Distinguished Scholar Lecture featuring a special living history performance at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21 in the Hennage Auditorium at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. The program will feature the recollections of two colonial Virginians -- Jeremy Prophet, an African-American as an old man recalling his exploits managing horses for the young George Washington, and Colonel Landon Carter, an 18th-century Virginia planter who filled his diary with day-by-day accounts of the contrivances of his fractious family and rebellious slaves.

Cary Carson, Colonial Williamsburg’s vice president of research, will “set the stage” with a brief historical description of the plantation slave experience. Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area Vice President and noted historian Rex Ellis and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Rhys Isaac will bring both Prophet and Carter to life through first person performance, lecture and interactive discussion. The 90-minute program, which is funded by the Horatio Hall Whitridge & Gracia Grieb Whitridge Lecture Series Fund, is included with museum admission. Reservations are required and can be made at any Colonial Williamsburg ticket outlet.

Ellis has been instrumental in establishing Colonial Williamsburg’s reputation for excellence in African-American museum interpretation. Previously, he served at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., as chairman of the division of cultural history and curator of African-American history, as well as the director of the Center for Museum Studies.

Isaac’s latest work, “Landon Carter’s Uneasy Kingdom: Revolution and Rebellion on a Virginia Plantation,” tells the story of a man whose world was on the brink of self-destruction. Though a fierce supporter of American liberty, Carter was deeply troubled by the American Revolution and its threat to the established order, all of which he chronicled in his diary. Published by the Oxford University Press, the book retails for $35 and is available at Colonial Williamsburg’s Williamsburg Booksellers and the Wallace Museum Gift Shop.

Isaac is a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the College of William & Mary and a Colonial Williamsburg research associate. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1983 for “The Transformation of Virginia, 1740-1790.” A professor emeritus at La Trobe University, he lives in Melbourne, Australia.

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