The Hermitage to commemorate Black History Month with educational events
January 23, 2013 – This February, The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson, will host a variety of activities designed to commemorate African-American history and culture while paying tribute to the enslaved community who lived at The Hermitage. The theme of this month long series is “Emancipation and the Meaning of Freedom.” Each program of the series will explore the theme. As a whole, the series will bring participants a greater understanding of Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation, the lives of slaves in the United States, the American Civil War, as well as the experiences of the Hermitage’s enslaved community as they encounter emancipation. Events in this series include:
Storytelling with Donna Washington - February 2, 2013 - 1:00 p.m.
North Carolina storyteller Donna Washington will visit The Hermitage for an afternoon of storytelling. An important tradition in African-American families throughout history, great stories allow family history to be passed along, questions answered, and important life lessons to be taught. During this program, ideas of freedom and emancipation will be explored through the storytelling tradition.
Washington has three published books to her credit, A Pride of African Tales, The Story of Kwanzaa, and A Big Spooky House and is a multiple award winning recording artist. She received a 2002 Parent’s Choice Award for her first independent recording “Live and Learn: The Exploding Frog and Other Stories.”
Following Washington’s presentation, Hermitage Director of Education James Yasko and Curatorial Assistant Ashley Boulknight will guide an interactive walking tour of the property. The stops on the tour will focus on the enslaved community at The Hermitage and the individuals who performed important contributions to the operation of the farm.
A Celebration of Music & Culture - February 7, 2013 - 6:00 p.m.
The Hermitage will host a reception celebrating the opening of “From Slavery to Freedom: Stories of the Hermitage Enslaved Community,” a new exhibit at The Hermitage: Home of President Andrew Jackson. A program celebrating African-American music & cultural traditions will follow at 7 p.m. featuring performances by the Tennessee State University Meistersingers and SistaStyle.
Most of the singers in the Meistersingers are from disciplines other than music. The ensembles take pride in announcing that they perform a wide variety of choral literature, from the renaissance to spirituals. It is their hope that this will offer their audiences a rich musical experience to cherish and remember.
SistaStyle Productions is a theatre group, which was founded in 2001 for the purpose of providing opportunities for actors, writers, and directors in the areas of theatre, film and television.
“Emancipation and the Meaning of Freedom” - February 16, 2013 - 1:00 p.m.
This informative discussion on emancipation and the meaning of freedom will feature an esteemed panel of scholars who will explore President Abraham Lincoln’s issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. The panel will also focus on the impact it had on the enslaved community in the South including their varied experiences with freedom, and the how the slave population living at The Hermitage experienced emancipation.
Panelists will include Dr. Thomas Mackey of the University of Louisville, Dr. Learotha Williams of Tennessee State University and Marsha Mullin of The Hermitage: Home of President Andrew Jackson.
Honoring The Hermitage’s Enslaved Community - February 23, 2013 - 1:00 p.m.
A wreath-laying ceremony will be held at the Hermitage Enslaved Memorial to honor the enslaved community who lived at The Hermitage. Following the ceremony, there will be a presentation in the Hermitage Church on “Telling the Story of Slavery at The Hermitage.”
About The Hermitage
The Hermitage, Home of President Andrew Jackson, is one of the largest and most visited presidential homes in the United States. In 1856, the State of Tennessee purchased the property from the Jackson family, entrusting it to the Ladies’ Hermitage Association in 1889 to operate as one of America’s first historic site museums. Today, The Hermitage is a 1,120-acre National Historic Landmark with more than30 historic buildings, including restored slave cabins. Thanks to efforts of this nonprofit organization, the mansion is the most accurately preserved early presidential home in the country. The Hermitage is a national model for authenticity, conservation, and historic preservation. In recent years, new interpretive initiatives and educational programs such as archaeology and the history of slavery have enhanced the experience of some 180,000 annual visitors, including 30,000 school children, from all 50 states and many foreign countries; in fact, we interpret the Hermitage mansion in five foreign languages. The property also receives 30,000 annual visits from the local community, including more than 1,000 children who play Little League baseball at The Hermitage's Rotary Park. The Hermitage is a “Partner Place” with the National Trust for Historic Preservation; and a site along the National Park Service’s Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. For more information, visit www.thehermitage.com.