History Alive!

Rosa Parks: First Lady of Civil Rights

Rosa Parks said: “I’d see the bus pass by me every day…but to me, that was a way of life; we had no choice but to accept what was the custom. The bus was among the first ways I realized there was a black world and a white one.”

On a December day in 1955, this tired seamstress and NAACP secretary refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery Alabama Bus. The ensuing Bus Boycott would last over 1 year, and galvanize the Nation into the modern fight for Civil Rights for all Citizens. Rosa Parks’ story will serve to remind all who hear it that we cannot always stand by and observe the status quo. Sometimes, we have to take a seat to be heard and knowingly place our personal comfort aside in order to bring about the changes that will help “We the People…” form that “…more Perfect Union” that is our Nation’s promise.

American Historical Theatre
A nonprofit organization specializing in first-person living history presentations.

Theodore Roosevelt: “American in the Arena”

When President McKinley was assassinated in 1901, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt bounded into Washington, D.C. as the youngest President in American history. Bringing his vigorous persona (and his boisterous family) to the White House, “TR” helped catapult the U.S. into a new century. His accomplishments were plentiful and diverse: War hero to Nobel Peace Prize winner, naturalist to imperialist. The 26th President promoted progressive reform and stronger government control of business. Believing that the security of the American People would be achieved through leadership on the World Stage, President Roosevelt expanded U.S. influence around the globe.

American Historical Theatre
A nonprofit organization specializing in first-person living history presentations.

Walt Whitman: “The Good Grey Poet”

Whitman sought to create “a new gospel of beauty”: a uniquely American voice. He escaped the Classic Structures demanded of verse, and gave us the free form voice that has become standard today. His work influenced the beat movement (Jack Kerouac and Alan Ginsberg), anti-war poets & even Bram Stoker (Dracula). Whitman, a volunteer in military hospitals during the civil war, mourned the assassination of President Lincoln with the well-known “Captain, oh my Captain. His last days were spent in Camden, NJ and in his refuge in nature at the Stafford Farm and Timber Creek.

American Historical Theatre
A nonprofit organization specializing in first-person living history presentations.

Madame CJ Walker: “Self Made Woman”

Walker was a 19th Century entrepreneur, and an early civil rights advocate. She revolutionized the hair care and cosmetics industry, becoming America’s first, female, self-made millionaire. As a member of the NAACP, she was instrumental in their efforts to make lynching a federal crime. Walker was recognized by the National Association of Colored Women for her contributions to save the home of abolitionist Frederick Douglass. She donated regularly to the NAACP, the YMCA, and to black schools, organizations, individuals, orphanages, and retirement homes.

American Historical Theatre
A nonprofit organization specializing in first-person living history presentations.

Program only available in Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Mercer, Monmouth, Ocean Counties, and Salem counties.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt: “An Arsenal for Democracy”

The date is December 29, 1940. Franklin Delano Roosevelt has just been re-elected to an unprecedented third term in office. But the world is in a crisis. Nazi Germany has blazed the path of destruction across Europe, and America may soon be drawn into war. Meet with the President just prior to his delivery of the famous “Arsenal for Democracy” speech.

American Historical Theatre
A nonprofit organization specializing in first-person living history presentations.

Martin Luther King Jr.: “A Man of Conscience”

Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the world’s greatest orators, as well as a pastor, activist, and humanitarian. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his work combating racial inequality through the use of nonviolent civil disobedience. His most famous speech, (“I Have a Dream”) was first delivered at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963.

American Historical Theatre
A nonprofit organization specializing in first-person living history presentations.

Harriet Beecher Stowe: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Dominion of Conscience

In 1852 Harriet Beecher Stowe published her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or Life Among the Lowly. The depiction of life for African Americans under slavery with emotionally charged stories of Uncle Tom, Eliza, and Little Eva helped move the conscience of the country to the great and imperative cause of Abolitionism. It energized anti-slavery forces in the American North, while provoking widespread anger in the pro-slavery South. Allegedly, when she met Abraham Lincoln, he said, “So you are the little woman that wrote the book that started this great war?”

American Historical Theatre
A nonprofit organization specializing in first-person living history presentations.

Annie Oakley: “Aim for a High Mark”

With professional partner Buffalo Bill Cody, Oakley, a diminutive sharpshooter and exhibition shooter, competed in a sport and in a world dominated by men. She learned to shoot from practical necessity: hunting to feed her parents and siblings. Oakley grew up poor, overcoming a difficult and abusive childhood. She felt strongly that women were just as capable as men and insisted that they should strive to achieve any goal or occupation that interested them. Her motto was to “Aim for a high mark…for practice will make you perfect.” and her hope was that all women would reach the “Bulls-eye of Success.”

American Historical Theatre
A nonprofit organization specializing in first-person living history presentations.

Fly! Bessie! Fly!

In 1921 Bessie Coleman became the first African American woman to earn a pilot’s license. Never one to let other people define her limitations, she traveled to France to learn to fly when American flight schools refused her because of her race. In later years she shared her experiences with children, encouraging them with the words, “you too can fly.”

American Historical Theatre
A nonprofit organization specializing in first-person living history presentations.

Program only available in Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Mercer, Monmouth, Ocean Counties, and Salem counties.

 

The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln

Discover the personal side of Abraham Lincoln in this first-person interpretation. The program covers the great man’s formative years, his courtship and marriage, the beginnings and development of his abolitionist view point, and his first – though not very successful – trip to Congress. Discussion points also include the causes of the Civil War, major events and turning points within the war, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Gettysburg Address.

American Historical Theatre
A nonprofit organization specializing in first-person living history presentations.

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