Wednesday we drove to the Springs to see Hassan Davis use his Chautauqua skills to become Angus Augustus Burleigh for an hour. Angus was a slave during the Civil War who ran away from his owner to join the Union Army, he soon found out that a uniform did not negate the color of his skin.
Just that morning we had finished reading Chains, I won’t spoil the ending (actually it’s part of a trilogy, so this is just the beginning of the next stage in Isabel’s life..) Mr. Davis made reference to the Revolutionary war during Q and A, stating that most slaves during that time were in a quandary as to whether to fight for the British (who offered freedom) or fight with the Americans and hope that ‘Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness’ included them. Mr. Davis said that though the founding fathers did own slaves, he believes that the document that they wrote was inclusive of All men, it just took awhile for that to come about. You can see part of Mr. Davis’s presentation here and he also talks about the research that he did for the role (lots of research time and about a year to memorize the monologue.) One thing that we thought was really neat is that Angus Burleigh was one of Berea College’s first graduates and Mr. Davis is also a graduate of Berea, that is very interesting. You can read more about Burleigh and other characters that Mr. Davis portrays on his site, here. You also have one last chance to catch him in Denver before he goes back to Kentucky (he will be speaking as York from the Lewis and Clark expedition):
Program:Performance-York, Black Explorer of the Lewis and Clark Expedition
Sponsor: Blair -Caldwell African American Research Library evening Public Program
Location:2401 Welton St. Denver, CO 80205
Date:February 9, 2013 2:00PM