The Black Franklins

Dr. Amanda Kemp has written a wonderfully researched and documented play called “Show Me the Franklins!” I took my daughters to see it at the Moses Brown School in Providence, RI, last October. I always feel enriched by encountering different perspectives on history. With this play you get a close look at how Benjamin Franklin and his wife Deborah might have felt about their own and others’ slaves and a sense of Ben Franklin’s ambivalence about the institution of slavery itself; did you know he died as president of Pennsylvania’s abolitionist society without ever having freed one of his own slaves?  The play also invites you into the life stories of several well-educated and dignified but enslaved Africans.

Dr. Kemp is available to bring her acting troupe to perform at your school. She is also developing workshops to teach her method of taking archival research and turning it into moving drama. The workshop could be a profound–transformative!–professional development activity over the summer if you are a teacher and want to get a group of teachers together. Check out her website for upcoming performances or to contact her to schedule your own.


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