The spirit of one of America’s most revered and heroic figures was recently celebrated in Chester.
With the launch of its Black History Month activities, the J. Lewis Crozer Library hosted “A Visit with Harriet Tubman” as portrayed by Daisy Century last Saturday.
Born Araminta “Minty” Ross, Tubman began her faithful journey from Maryland to Philadelphia in 1849, undaunted and with conviction that she would not live her life under the harsh conditions of American slavery.
Her trailblazing path contributed to the famous Underground Railroad, linking her to Delaware County and prominent abolitionist residents of the time.
In a 90-minute one woman act, Tubman’s life was recaptured by the historical interpreter and actress, Century.
Considering Tubman her role model, someone who encouraged her to put others first and to lead by example, Century was inspired to tell Tubman’s story.
“Harriet Tubman was not born a slave,” affirmed Century throughout her performance.
Audience members were captivated by how “real” the show was. “It was like going back in time” many shared in conversation afterwards.
The experience was made more authentic for the adults and children in attendance, including students from the Chester Community Charter School, by Century’s use of a cotton plant as she portrayed Tubman in replica garb.
As a self-proclaimed history hound and former teacher in the Philadelphia School District for more than twenty years, Century places a high value on education and preserving African-American history.
“We need to pass on this rich history,” she said.
Century has appeared as Harriet Tubman and other noted characters in numerous venues including the National Defense Organization, the Belmont Mansion, the Sojourner Truth House, the Theodore Roosevelt National Historic Site, the Helicopter Museum and other historical sites, schools and libraries throughout the United States.
The J. Lewis Crozer Library is now one of the venues Century can list on her extensive résumé. Actively collecting materials and offering programming that pertain to the history of Chester City and Delaware County, the library prides itself on being a strong community resource.
“The library listens to what its patrons would like as far as programming topics and seeks to offer a rich variety of educational and enriching programs local residents will enjoy,” said Kim Braun, Crozer’s Library Head of Reference and Adult Services.
For more than five years Braun has worked at the library and acknowledges an increase specifically in the Black History Month programming attendance.
“Our programming seeks to educate patrons not only about African-American history with our programs on Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, but also African-American culture and present-day African American issues,” she said. “Our (Black History Month) program dedicated to African hair braiding will explore the culture of this art, while our presentation on Black politics will touch on both the present and the past of the African-American political experience.”
For more information on Black History Month and upcoming events at the J. Lewis Crozer Library, visit www.crozerlibrary.org or call (610) 494-3454.
To learn more about Daisy Century or book her for future engagements, visit her website at www.daisycentury.com.