Pellissippi State Community College will host free performances of “Oh Freedom! The Story of the Underground Railroad” on two of its campuses this month, and the public is invited.
The one-act play will be performed by The WordPlayers at 12:25 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, at the college’s Magnolia Avenue Campus, 1610 E. Magnolia Ave., Knoxville, and at 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14, at the college’s Blount County Campus, 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Friendsville.
Each performance is approximately 50 minutes.
Written by Peter Manos, “Oh Freedom! The Story of the Underground Railroad” combines the stories of the men and women who were active in the fight against slavery with songs of the period, according to a description on The WordPlayers’ website. Famous participants like Harriet Tubman and Harriet Beecher Stowe are represented, but so are lesser known heroes of the movement like John Rankin, whose house on a hill above the Ohio River was a beacon for freedom for many escaping bondage; the mysterious “Peg Leg” Joe, who moved among the plantations teaching slaves to escape and “Follow the Drinking Gourd,” a song designed to show them the way; and Henry “Box” Brown, who had himself put in a box and mailed to freedom by general post.
“Knowledge about our American history, on all levels, is extremely important,” said Magnolia Avenue Campus Dean Rosalyn Tillman and Blount County Campus Dean Holly Burkett in a joint statement. “Sharing this knowledge in this entertaining way enlightens our students and our community about this history.”