loading live map...hang in there
Stories From da Dirt
11 Sep 2013
Published To

Stories From da Dirt (a cultural educational program developed by Dr. Nancy J. Dawson and based in Western Kentucky), sheds new light on the story of resistance to the institution of slavery through drama, music and dance. In addition, the program utilizes historic artifacts, documents and quilts (made by Dawson) to tell the stories of female freedom seekers. 

The production consists of a series of monologues which depict the lives of enslaved African women who are escaping from slavery, using their own skill and ingenuity.  The women are nameless because the trials and tribulations surrounding their lives can apply to many enslaved women living during that time period. The only character which has a name is Elizabeth Thompson, (the great grandmother of the playwright) who actually escaped from Missouri and fled to Kansas (a free state) and settled in a town known for its Underground Railroad connection called Quindaro. Thompson and the Ancestors (mythical characters), watch-over the runaways throughout their journey. Research for this play was conducted during a seven year period throughout Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Indiana and the National Archives in Washington, D.C. 

The production has received standing ovations at colleges and universities across the country such as University of Wisconsin, Platteville, Central Missouri State University and Albany State University. Stories from da Dirt is sponsored in part by the National Park Service, National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. Dawson received a grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women to assist with the development of the music used in this production. This year Dr. Dawson received the prestigious Rocket Grant from the Charlotte Street Foundation (A special project funded by the University of Kansas and the Andy Warhol Foundation).


The artist or arts organization telling this story was supported in part by a grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women. KFW is based on the belief that when women and girls advance, so does Kentucky. For more information about the foundation and the social change artmaking being done by the individuals and organizations it supports, visit www.kfw.org." 

Theater Community Cross-Cultural Empowerment Heritage Justice Women Performance Midwest Southeast Academic African American Reasearcher
Comments (0)