Freedom Rising: Danny Glover, Edwidge Danticat will shine spotlight on Haiti’s role in America’s emancipation


This report by Bill Forry 
appeared in

In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and of the first black Civil War troops from the North, several Greater Boston educational, historical, and cultural organizations are collaborating to present Freedom Rising: The 150th Anniversary of The Emancipation Proclamation and African American Military Service in the Civil War from May 2 through 4, 2013.

On Saturday, May 4, a special performance called “Roots of Liberty – The Haitian Revolution and the American Civil War” will be staged at the Tremont Temple Baptist Church, 88 Tremont St., Boston at 5 p.m.. Produced by Underground Railway Theater, in residence at Central Square Theater, the performance will include special guests Danny Glover, author Edwidge Danticat, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Danny Glover will be performing one of the key historical figures in Roots of Liberty.

The first-ever performance celebrates the Haitian revolutionary hero Toussaint Louverture and the impact of the Haitian Revolution on the American Civil War – the antislavery movement and African American soldiers. It is set in Boston’s historic Tremont Temple, where the Emancipation Proclamation was read in 1863.

Freedom Rising takes place throughout Greater Boston with lectures by Pulitzer Prize-Winning Historian Eric Foner and others, a Symposium focusing on the hemispheric impact of the Emancipation Proclamation, and Roots of Liberty, a performance with special guests actor Danny Glover, scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and author Edwidge Danticat exploring the impact of the Haitian Revolution on the antislavery movement and the Civil War. All events are free and open to the public. Reservations are not required but RSVPs are appreciated.

The second founding of the United States took place in the midst of the great sacrifice and destruction of the American Civil War. Before the war, slavery was protected by the Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that no African American possessed any right that white men were bound to respect. During the war, blacks served in the armed forces with distinction, making a Union victory possible. After the war, slavery was extinguished and black men gained the right to vote—key to full citizenship—and many won election to state legislatures in the North and South and to both houses of Congress. The key document of this transformation is the Emancipation Proclamation.

Freedom Rising coincides with exhibitions at Harvard University’s Houghton Library and at the Museum of African American History.

For more information, to RSVP, or to join a mailing list to keep informed about Freedom Rising, the general public should visit To attend any of the events on May 2-4, we would appreciate your RSVP by April 26.

Freedom Rising Schedule of Events
Thursday, May 2, 6PM-7:30PM:
Museum of African American History, 46 Joy Street, Beacon Hill, Boston, MA
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Eric Foner opens the conference in the Museum’s African Meeting House with a public address. For other Lowell lectures in this series see: Space is limited; reservations required:

Friday, May 3 9AM-5PM
Radcliffe Institute Gymnasium, 10 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA
A day-long symposium focusing on the Emancipation Proclamation and its hemispheric impact, recruitment of black troops, black communities, black women, and legacy in art.

Community Workshop Schedule

Saturday, April 13th, Noon-1:30
Hibernian Hall, 184 Dudley St., Roxbury
Host: Madison Park Development Corporation

To become a Community Partner or attend a Workshop, contact: James Pierre, 617.308.1780 or

For the original report go to

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