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Mary D. Williams Performs Songs from Slavery to Civil Rights at Historic Stagville

Slave quarters at Historic Stagville

The power and persistence of African American musical traditions will be amplified by the well-rounded voice of renowned gospel singer Mary Williams. The educator and historian will perform in a free program Saturday, March 3, 1 p.m. at Historic Stagville State Historic Site.

Her performance and historical presentation will illuminate musical practices that might have been part of survival and resistance for those enslaved at Stagville. Visitors should be prepared to participate and sing along! Come early to get a seat for this popular presentation.

Williams has traveled to more than 40 colleges and universities, more than 40 public schools and hundreds of churches and libraries performing songs and narratives of the black South. Her knowledge is further rooted in scholarly work as she holds a B.A. degree in American Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In collaboration with friend and colleague, historian Timothy Tyson, she has taught a community based college course on the South in black and white in the 20th century at N.C. Central University, Duke University, and UNC-Chapel Hill.

Stagville is the former site of one of the largest plantations in North Carolina, owned by the Bennehan-Cameron family and home to over 900 enslaved people. Historic Stagville State Historic Site interprets the lives of over 3,000 individuals who experienced slavery at Stagville, as well as the story of the Bennehan-Cameron family. Historic Stagville preserves a fraction of the buildings and land from the plantation, including a slaveholder’s house (1787-1799), four houses of enslaved families (1851), and a giant barn (1860).

For more information, call (919) 620-0120. The site is located at 2821 Old Oxford Rd., Durham, NC 27712. It is nine miles north of downtown Durham, about 30 minutes from Chapel Hill, and about 45 minutes from Raleigh and part of the Division of State Historic Sites within the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

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