Historic Brattonsville’s virtual program “Uncertain Times: Homefront 1865” gives voice to the African American story and presents a more inclusive interpretation of the Brattonsville community during the American Civil War. The program consists of three presentations: historical portrayals by FREED – Female RE-Enactors of Distinction and two interactive living history programs. South Carolina Humanities supported this project with a Mini Grant.
During the largest and most destructive conflict in the United States, the Homefront waited amid foreboding uncertainty. At the time, there were 80 enslaved African Americans on the Brattonsville plantation; with the absence of any guarantee of freedom, how would the American Civil War’s outcome impact their lives? How would the women on the plantation fare with the men away on the battlefields?
Uncertain Times: Homefront 1865 features historical portrayals of five African American women from across the nation who stepped up with courageous acts and mighty voices in the fight against slavery. The historical women are portrayed by FREED, a group of volunteers who aim to teach American history that perhaps has been forgotten or overlooked. FREED is an auxiliary organization of the African American Civil War Museum in Washington, D.C.
FREED’s performances for Uncertain Times feature Patricia Tyson as Hallie Quinn Brown, an illustrious educator. Ruby M. Thomas portrays Amanda Berry Smith, the singing pilgrim. Judy Williams portrays Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield, a singer known as the Black Swan. Lavonda Broadnax portrays a poetess named Frances Ellen Watkins Harper. Bobbie Coles portrays the Nameless Faceless Woman of the Civil War.
FREED’s presentation for Uncertain Times: Homefront 1865 premieres on April 10 at noon EST on Historic Brattonsville’s Facebook page and Culture & Heritage Museums’ YouTube channel. Presentations will be available for ongoing viewing on these digital platforms after the premiere date.
Time Travel Tuesdays:
In addition to the FREED presentation, Uncertain Times: Homefront 1865 includes two living history programs that depict what life was like for those living on the Brattonsville plantation during the American Civil War. The programs will be featured in Historic Brattonsville’s ongoing weekly interactive series – Time Travel Tuesdays. Public participation is encouraged through questions and comments; register for the free Zoom webinars at CHMuseums.org . Programs premiere live on April 6 and 13, both at 10 a.m. EST on Historic Brattonsville’s Facebook page and later on Culture & Heritage Museums’ YouTube channel
FAST FACTS for “Uncertain Times: Homefront 1865”:
FREED’s theatrical performances: April 10 at noon EST – No registration required
Time Travel Tuesdays: April 6 and 13 at 10 a.m. EST – Zoom interactive webinar; register for free at CHMuseums.org
Digital platforms: Historic Brattonsville’s Facebook page and Culture & Heritage Museums’ YouTube channel
With ongoing viewing availability thereafter on Culture & Heritage Museums’ YouTube channel
For more information on an array of free virtual programs, visit chmuseums.org.
About Historic Brattonsville:
Historic Brattonsville features historic houses and structures built over the course of three generations of the Bratton family and the enslaved community. The plantation spreads over 800-acres and includes farmed land with heritage breed animals, a Revolutionary War battlefield site with interpretive trail, and a nature preserve with miles of walking trails. Seasonal events, reenactments, and living history programs interpret Carolina backcountry life from the 1750s to the late 19th century. Historic Brattonsville is included in “The Green Book of South Carolina” – a travel guide to significant African American heritage and cultural destinations across the state. Learn more: https://greenbookofsc.com/
About Culture & Heritage Museums:
Culture & Heritage Museums is a family of museums in York County, South Carolina: Historic Brattonsville in McConnells, the McCelvey Center, which includes the Historical Center, in York, and the Museum of York County and Main Street Children’s Museum in Rock Hill. CHM is a Smithsonian Affiliate and is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. According to AAM, accreditation is “the ultimate mark of distinction in the museum field” and “signifies excellence and credibility to the entire museum community, to governments and outside agencies and to the museum-going public.” In South Carolina, there are only twelve museums or museum systems that have achieved this distinction. The mission of CHM is to communicate and preserve the natural and cultural histories of the Carolina Piedmont, inspiring a lifetime of learning.
The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. Established in 1973, this 501(c) 3 organization is governed by a volunteer 21-member Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state. It presents and/or supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos and other humanities-based experiences that directly or indirectly reach more than 250,000 citizens annually.
Photo: Ladies of FREED outside of the ACW Memorial in 2018. Photo courtesy of FREED.