Little-known bit of Black History

Did you know Ben Franklin died as president of Pennsylvania’s abolitionist society without ever having freed one of his own slaves? Dr. Amanda Kemp recently toured her wonderfully researched and documented play called “Show Me the Franklins!” to three Boston-area schools. I was pleased that she also stopped by our congregation without her actors, but with a dvd, and discussed the process of writing the play. 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; 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.