Tubman springs to life

Published 10:43 am Wednesday, March 28, 2012

JACKSON — The rescheduled performance celebrating the legacy of Harriet Tubman will take place at the end of the week.

On Friday, renowned storyteller Joyce Grear will return to Northampton County to relay the life of Harriet “Moses” Tubman at the Cultural and Wellness Center near Jackson. The event was originally scheduled for February, but was postponed due to inclement weather.

Admission is free for the program, organized by the Northampton County Cultural Arts Committee, and slated to begin at 7 p.m. Grear will also perform at Northampton County High School-West on Friday at 1 p.m.

As a part of Black History Month, Grear made her first local appearance last year telling the life story of Tubman who was born a slave in 1820 in Dorchester County, Md. and fled to her freedom in 1849. Tubman is most known for her work in the Underground Railroad. In a 10-year span she made 19 trips to the South and escorted more than 300 slaves to freedom. Tubman was also a nurse in the Civil War as well as a Suffragist and Civil Rights activist.

In addition to her performances, Grear teaches drama, writes plays, and directs the children of The Family and Neighborhood Institute of North Carolina, Inc. She uses stories as a teaching tool.

Known as the “griot” of Wilmington, she graduated from Williston Senior High School in 1966. Grear served as artist in residence (1980-1987) for the City of Wilmington Parks and Recreation Department. Under her guidance, the special populations department grew to include a wide range of community-based programs and projects. She founded and co-founded: The Wilmington’s Children’s Theatre, The Senior Players, Art Camp, and The Annual Youth Storytelling Festival; Grear has also toured Pender and Brunswick counties as a Living History Character and storyteller.

Since 1987, Grear has toured primarily throughout the Southeast, New England, and to South Korea and Japan for the Department of Defense Dependent Schools. She has appeared as a featured teller in many storytelling festivals, to include the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tenn. and the National Black Storytelling Festival in Oakland, Calif.

For more information contact the Northampton Cultural Arts Committee at (252) 534-1383.