She tells me the musical is entitled, " 'Git' on Board! The Life of Harriet Tubman." I recall from history that the heroic Harriet Tubman was a slave who escaped to lead many secret trips called the Underground Railroad to help other slaves go from the South to the North.
When we arrive in Angleton, we are directed to the lawn in front of the Courthouse where a simple stage is set up for the performance. We are early, so set up our lawn chairs in the direction of where the shade from the trees will be when the musical begins. Then we take a tour of the courthouse, which we learn is the third one of the county, but the first one since the county seat was moved from the city of Brazoria to Angleton.
With a little more time to spare, we notice a gazebo that looks like a great place for me to take a photo.
The production is a musical starring one lady, who portrays Harriet and sings to recordings. She first gives a bit of history into the life of Harriet and reminds us that the Underground Railroad was not a physical train as we know it, but people helping people.
Harriet believed that everyone ought to be free, and made 19 trips to lead 300 people to Pennsylvania and other northern free states, then later into Canada, when the free states were no longer safe. Our narrator tells us there will be audience participation today. I hear some adults say they want to hide.
However, she invites all the 'short people' to come sit down front. The children are very willing and quickly scurry forward. Now comes the audience participation. She calls girls to one side of the stage and boys to the other.
As she begins to tell the story, children hold a banner that represents the church, which served as a safe house for the slaves.
Our storyteller says private homes were also used for safe houses.
The Religious Society of Friends church, known as the Quakers, were very helpful to the slaves, taking them in and teaching them to read and write in order to be self sufficient.
Not only did we experience a bit of history, but delighted to enjoy our narrator's singing of spiritual and work songs the slaves sang, such as "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and "Git on Board," which contained hidden messages for slaves preparing to escape to freedom. Other songs were "Steal Away to Jesus," and "I'm Bound for the Promised Land."
This young father gives me permission to take a photo of his daughter. She says she thoroughly enjoyed the play. (Or maybe it was just the going on a picnic with her father and doll that she enjoyed.)
Willie of Willie's Tug,
and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
Saturday, February 25, 2017