Slavery in the United States became illegal in the 1860s. Before that, many slaves found their way north by following the Big Dipper, or the Drinking Gourd as they called it. Our story begins in 1880 with Old Ellie and Old Sam, two escaped slaves who share their brave story along the path to freedom called the Underground Railroad.
The 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln was killed by an assassins bullet on April 15, 1865. Lincoln preserved the union of the nation, but after the Civil War he struggled with Congress and the people over Reconstruction. Despite the war and political strife, Lincolns life and legacy touched the hearts and souls of millions then as it does today. This play draws from the writings of many of those people and from Lincoln himself.
In the early 1800s, white settlers and missionaries were intent on bringing the English language to the illiterate Native Americans. Sequoyah was intrigued by these leaves of paper with strange marks that talked. Doing what no one had ever done before, Sequoyah set about creating a written Cherokee languagehelping preserve the tribe's history and culture even today.
La Llorona (The Crying Woman) is a sad and haunting tale from Mexico. Parents have told the story for hundreds of years to misbehaving children and to guard against vanity. Some say the story is about Spanish conquistador Hernn Corts and a native Mexican woman who served as his translator. Her loss can be compared to the loss of native Mexican culture after the Spanish conquest.
In 1845, Frederick Douglasss first autobiography became a bestseller. Many readers could not believe that such a brilliant writer was ever a slave. When Douglass wrote the book, slavery had not yet ended so he kept secret how he escaped from Maryland. By 1881, the Civil War had ended slavery and Douglass felt the time was right to reveal how he escaped. This play is adapted from Douglasss own words from The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass.
Most people take it for granted: riding a bike. In the late 1800s, the bicycle first came to the United States from Europe. This new "steel horse" was wildly popular. But for women, who either worked in factories or stayed at home, the bicycle liberated them like nothing ever has. One two-wheeled invention changed fashion, opened doors, and led to a movement in women's rights still felt today.
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is a quote from the U.S. Constitution most Americans know by heart. The right to have a healthy peacetime life-- to be free from want, hunger, disease -- is one of the rights that defines happiness. Read why this right is important for young people today. Learn how societies around the world fare in providing freedom from want to all people. And discover ways to help deliver critical basic needs to others.
When World War II broke out in Europe, it was the beginning of a race to build bombs and war machines. Following the war, a new "arms race" began between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Today, nations continue to build dangerous weapons. Read why the freedom from fear is still important more than 70 years after President Franklin Roosevelt spoke of it. And learn about ways people are working to eliminate the arms of war and ensure freedom from fear around the world.
Protected by the Bill of Rights, the freedom of speech and expression is one of the most cherished rights possessed by citizens of the United States. Explore why this right is important to young people today. Read about ways the freedom of speech protects the media. And learn how this critical freedom is challenged around the world.
The North American colonies were a safe haven for Pilgrims seeking the freedom to worship in their own way. The freedom to worship, or not, is a sacred right protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Explore why this right is still debated today. And learn how the freedom to express one's religious beliefs continue to be a source of conflict around the world.