The event will take place in Keene Public Library’s Heberton Hall on Thursday, September 15 at 6:00 p.m. with pre-show music performed by Will Danforth and presentations by Marvin Jefferson as Paul Robeson and Gwendolyn Briley-Strand as Wilma Rudolph at 6:30 p.m. The two presentations will deal with the complex relationship between race and sport in America and how some gifted individuals achieved success on the playing field despite difficult living conditions and economic circumstances. After each presentation, audience members can ask questions to the historical character and the researcher/performer.
Paul Robeson, son of a former slave, was one of the most well-known African-Americans of the 20th century. He was a renaissance man: a social activist, singer, scholar, actor, All-American athlete at Rutgers, intellectual, lawyer, linguist, humanist and advocate for international peace. Marvin Jefferson, who will bring Robeson to life on the Heberton Hall stage. Previously, he portrayed Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Keene Chautauqua in 2015. He has portrayed Robeson in Ohio, New Jersey, and Maryland.
Actress Gwendolyn Briley-Strand will portray Wilma Rudolph who won three gold medals in track and field during the 1960 Summer Olympics, making her the first American female to do so. She is regarded as a civil and women's rights pioneer. Briley-Strand has portrayed Rudolph with the Maryland Humanities Council.
Will Danforth offers a cornucopia of roots-based acoustic music! He features performances feature guitar, banjo, slide guitar, auto-harp, Appalachian dulcimer, and more.
Funding for Keene Chautauqua is provided by New Hampshire Humanities and C and S Wholesale Grocers.
For more information, please contact Gail Zachariah at the Keene Public Library, 603-352-0157.
Pre-show music starts at 6 p.m. and the actors take the stage at 6:30 p.m.