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January 21, 2003

Colonial Williamsburg Commemorates Black History Month with Special Programs Feburary 21-23,2003

Colonial Williamsburg is a place of history and a place of truth. As the nation’s largest history museum and restored capital of 18th-century Virginia, Colonial Williamsburg shows the world what it means to be American–our beauty marks and our scars. It is a place for all to be reminded and inspired. In recognition of Black History Month, special weekend programs Feb. 21-23 will complement Colonial Williamsburg’s year-round African-American programs that recognize the struggles, contributions and successes of 18th-century African-Virginians and their contributions to America. Special programs, offered for the first time over one weekend include:

Friday, Feb. 21

“Stitching Culture.” 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum’s Hennage Auditorium. This program brings to life an 18th-century painting from Colonial Williamsburg’s museums entitled, “The Old Plantation.” The lives of slaves and their clothing are explored in this program, which complements the museum’s exhibition “Language of Clothing.” The exhibit displays more than 250 pieces of period clothing and accessories that provide clues to understanding people of the past.

“Remember Me When Freedom Comes.” 1:30-3 p.m., DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum’s Hennage Auditorium. Remember Me is a performance about an African from Carter’s Grove Plantation slave quarter named Paris who tells his story of life in Africa and slavery in Virginia. The performance includes African-American music, songs, storytelling, a Saturday night gathering and a religious “Shout.” Listen as the enslaved community expresses their thoughts and hopes of freedom.

“Enslaved Revolutionaries in Cyberspace.” 3:30–5 p.m., Williamsburg Lodge Auditorium. Colonial Williamsburg Productions uses state-of-the-art technology to bring history to life for students and the general public. Teaching Americans about African-American enslavement and freedom in early America is central to Colonial Williamsburg’s educational mission of helping the future learn from the past. Guests are invited to discover the media, materials, methods and the challenges Colonial Williamsburg educators face as they interpret this sensitive topic to inspire educators and students across the nation.

“Public History, Public Trust.” 7-8:30 p.m., Williamsburg Lodge Auditorium. How far is too far when interpreting African-American history? This program addresses two of the most controversial African-American programs presented by Colonial Williamsburg and the public and media reaction. Featured is the “Estate Auction” of 1994 that included the selling of slaves and Enslaving Virginia’s 1999 “Slave Gathering.”

Saturday, Feb. 22

“Free and Enslaved Founding Fathers.” 10-11a.m., Williamsburg Lodge Auditorium. Listen as people from the colonial era such as the Founding Fathers, African-American soldiers and women camp followers express their opinions of the contradiction of slavery and freedom. As the new nation and government emerged, people both free and enslaved, struggled to resolve the question of slavery and American freedom.

“White Goes First.” 11:30a.m.-Noon., Williamsburg Lodge Auditorium. This program explores another side of the master and slave relationship. A dramatic scene between Thomas Jefferson and his manservant Jupiter arises as the two men engage in a game of chess. See what the scene reveals about how much the slave knew about his master and how much the master knew about his slaves.

“Brothers In Arms: The Forgotten Freedom Fighters of the American Revolutionary Era.” 2-3:30 p.m., Williamsburg Lodge Auditorium. Prior to the Underground Railroad, the Abolitionist Movement and the Civil War, free and enslaved African Americans actively fought for their freedom in the era of the American Revolution. Brothers In Arms tells the heroic stories of African-American soldiers and women camp followers who resisted slavery and fought for freedom on both the American and British side.

“18th-Century Williamsburg in Black and White.” 3:45-5 p.m., Williamsburg Lodge Auditorium. Experience samples of the variety of African-American interpretive programs offered daily in the Historic Area, the different methods of interpretation and the stories they tell about the public and private lives of free blacks and slaves in Williamsburg.

“A Day in the Life.” 10:30 a.m.-noon & 2-4 p.m., Williamsburg Lodge Conference Room D. Colonial Williamsburg’s Junior Performers provide interactive interpretations that encourage family and youth audiences to participate in learning and interpreting 18th-century history.

“How Sweet the Sound.” 7-8:30 p.m., Williamsburg Lodge Auditorium. A performance of African-American music provides insight into the thoughts and aspirations of enslaved people as they struggled for freedom. Explore how the music of slaves and free blacks influenced African-American music from work songs to spirituals through the modern ages. A $6 ticket is required to attend this program in addition to a Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket.

Sunday, Feb. 23

“Brothers In Arms: Give Me Liberty.” 10-11:30 a.m., Williamsburg Lodge Auditorium. This program presents an overview of the history of contributions of African Americans in the American Revolutionary War and highlights the contributions of soldiers of the Ethiopian Regiment and the First Rhode Island Regiment.

“Slavery and Salvation: African-American Religion in Colonial Virginia” 1-2:30 p.m. Williamsburg Lodge Auditorium. Listen as “people of the past” express their thoughts from a variety of religious perspectives as they comment on the institution of colonial slavery. From the gentry to slaves, religion was an important aspect of 18th-century life. The Great Awakening of the early 18th century inspired many people of all classes, including slaves, to become more involved in religion. During this period Negro preachers emerged and began to preach in Williamsburg.

Reservations and a Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket is required for all programs. A General Admission ticket valid for one day is $37 for adults, $18.50 for youth six-14 and free for children under six. Guests may add a second consecutive day to the General Admission ticket for $3 for adults and $1.50 per youth. The yearlong Freedom Pass is $49 for adults, $24.50 for youth six-14 and free for children under six. The Freedom Pass includes a 50 percent discount on evening programs.

A “Patriot’s Plan” package is available to guests who wish to spend the weekend at Colonial Williamsburg. The package is $97 per person per night double occupancy requiring a two-night minimum stay at the Williamsburg Woodlands Hotel & Suites and includes a continental breakfast and admission tickets.

Colonial Williamsburg is located 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64, exit 238. For more information, call toll free (800)HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Website at

Media Contact:
Lorraine C. Brooks
(757) 220-7280