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As part of the American south, Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, was once a home to enslaved people. This February, to celebrate Black History in Colonial Williamsburg, they will share the stories of the African American men and women who contributed to the story of our nation while under the weight of unimaginable toil and sacrifice.
Here are the special programs* put on by the incredible historical reenactors of Colonial Williamsburg, who have committed their lives to sharing the stories of history—both widely known and untold.
*Indoor events have limited seating due to social distancing. Please arrive early to secure a seat for all events celebrating Black History in Colonial Williamsburg.
Across the Board
February 6, 13, 30, 27
Over a game of chess, Thomas Jefferson and his manservant, Jupiter, challenge and amuse each other. Are all men created equal? In this depiction of a private moment in the life of a very public figure, chess becomes a metaphor for the power dynamics present in the master/slave relationship.
African American Contributions at the Governor’s Palace
Tours throughout all of February
The Royal Governor of Virginia wielded great influence over the colony, and to ensure success in the New World they often called upon free and enslaved African-Americans for help, both at the Palace and on missions throughout the colony of Virginia. Hear these important stories and learn about the contributions of free and enslaved African-Americans during your visit to the Palace.
All Things Are Possible
February 7, 14, 21, 28
Meet with Robert Carter III, who in 1791 owned more slaves than any other Virginian. His inner struggles and new-found faith will lead him to an extraordinary decision, which was followed by an equally remarkable action. Knowing what is right and then following through was just as difficult in the 18th century as it is today, but not to those who truly believe that “all things are possible.”
Judith and Daniel
February 2, 9, 16
Judith and Daniel, an enslaved couple, anxiously await their reunion after a year apart. Learn the tragic story resulting in their separation and why this happy reunion of husband and wife may not be permanent.
Nation Builders Discuss the Institution of Slavery
Mondays and Thursdays through February
Join two Nation Builders to have a conversation about how they viewed the complicated tragedy that was the institution of slavery. Speak with the Nation Builders, and the historians who portray them, to give context in and out of their 18th-century world.
Slavery and the Law
Tours throughout all of February
On your visit to the Capitol, discover how enslaved African Americans fought to obtain their freedom by petitioning the Virginia courts and legislature. Learn also how slave code affected African Americans, both enslaved and free, and how criminal trials for the enslaved differed from those for free people.
February 5, 12, 26
As she mourns the passing of her beloved, Succordia, an enslaved woman in the twilight of her life, tells us her story of love and faith that transcends her enslaved status. Through story and song she relives the best and worst times of her life ultimately realizing her worth isn’t the one determined by slave-owners, but by knowing who she is and who she really belongs to.
All throughout February
Peyton Randolph House
Take a 60-minute walking tour of the Randolph Yard, Market Square, and Palace Green. Examine slavery’s evolution, and the reliance upon it by patriots like Peyton Randolph, to build a city, a colony, and eventually a nation. Explore the paradox of the institution of slavery and the movement for independence by looking at the experiences of the free and enslaved members of the Randolph Household.
Randolph Yard Exploration
Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday
Randolph Kitchen and Yard
Explore the kitchen building and yard of the Randolph House. Learn about the paradox of the Randolph household, home to 27 enslaved people and Peyton Randolph, the first Continental Congress President.
She Had on When She Went Away
February 3, 10, 17, 24
Explore the material culture and lives of self-liberated Black women in the 18th century and the society they inhabited. In this new collaboration, based on runaway ads from 18th-century newspapers, see garments worn by our actor interpreters and made by our Millner and Mantua makers.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this blog! Stay with King’s Creek this February and join us to celebrate Black History in Colonial Williamsburg.