Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. ~ Harriet Tubman
On Presidents Day, I attended a wonderful event at Liriodendron Mansion a place I have written about on SowtheHeart.com several times previously. This time I went to the historic home to meet Araminta”Minty” Ross (aka Harriet Tubman), through Janice Curtis Greene, a professional impersonator and storyteller. Ms. Greene’s incredible skill at re-enactment drew me so deeply into the character of “Harriet” I had a hard time believing I wasn’t spending the afternoon with “Ms. Tubman” herself. It was difficult to separate the character actor from a real person. Ms. Greene is President of the National Association of Black Story Tellers (NABS). She has traveled far and wide spreading the story of Araminta Ross to both children and adults. Please visit Ms. Greene’s website to learn about some of the other characters in history she portrays.
Through her storytelling Ms. Greene told of the plight of her people but warned that one can be a slave but not all slaves are “enslaved.” Such was the attitude of Harriet who took action and became a freedom-fighter for other African-Americans. She believed “The Lord expects us to do whatever we can to improve the lives of others while we are here on this Earth.” Also through her retelling of the life of Araminta Ross, she said “not to be defined by conditions one is born into” and for African-Americans to never forget their African roots where people can read the stars and where art and music originated.
After the indoor presentation, Ms. Greene led us outside to the grounds of Liriodendron and talked with the audience about the dangers Harriet Tubman encountered in the dark of night escaping into the woods and waterways along the Underground Railroad to freedom.
The fabulous afternoon ended with a Q&A session. I posed the following question to Ms. Greene:
What does it mean personally to you to be able to portray the character of Harriet Tubman through your storytelling? Her presentation and her answer to my question brought tears to my eyes it was so deeply expressed and genuine. Ms Greene answered “It is my life, my breath and it is sustenance to me. It is a privilege and honor to play the part and I try to embody the lessons I have learned from “Harriet.”
Today, I ‘d like to thank all the sponsors of the event including the Maryland Council on the Arts and Liriodendron Mansion for bringing this educational program to Bel Air, Maryland. It’s a day I will remember for a long, long time.
As I have urged through other blogs posted on SowtheHeart.com, take time out and travel to the new Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Park in Cambridge, Maryland to visit the new museum and explore the waterways and scenic historic sights where Harriet Tubman trod freeing her people.