Gitana Productions will present “An Amazing Story: German Abolitionists of Missouri,” an original play inspired by the amazing stories of German immigrants who were leading abolitionists in Missouri.
Using the lens of history, the original performance will bring to life what it means to strive for social justice for others while also advocating for one’s own cultural group.
The presentation will be offered Sunday, July 21, at 5:30 p.m. at the C. J. Burger Fine Arts Center.
Following the performance, there will be a question and answer session.
Tickets can be purchased for $10 on line at franklinmo200.com, at the Washington Historical Society Museum, or at the box office the day of the performance. Children under 12 will be admitted free due to the educational value of this play.
Germans came to America in the 1800s seeking freedom from oppression in provinces of what is now Germany including Prussia, Baden and others. Remarkably, many German immigrants, who often spoke no English, recognized that the hope for a growing democracy in America could only be realized if slavery was abolished.
Often threatened and even run out of town by Missouri slaveholders, these men and women even started newspapers to spread their ideals for a color-blind democracy. While many German immigrants who settled in the Midwest before and after the Civil War staunchly defended freedom for slaves, some chose to set aside those values to survive. Those tensions, with roots in the past, continue today within many American cultural groups.
“The rich and shared history between Germans and African-Americans in Missouri isn’t widely known and we want to change that,” said Cecilia Nadal, executive director of Gitana Productions. “This German story is an important American story, where the ideal of democracy brings together unlikely and diverse champions.”
This February, Gitana Productions and the Missouri German Consortium presented “The Face of Love: Symposium on the Common History of German and African-Americans.”
The event brought together historians, community leaders and artists to discuss the shared African-American and Missouri German history.
Consul General Herbert Quelle of Germany came to this event receiving a proclamation from St. Louis City commemorating the contributions of Germans to the abolition of slavery.
Gitana just completed a tour of the show at the Kranzberg Arts Center in St. Louis with rave reviews by audience members.
Gitana is supported in part by the Kranzberg Arts Foundation and Missouri Arts Council, Regional Arts Commission and the Missouri Humanities Council.
The performance is sponsored by the Franklin County 1818 Corporation, the Franklin County Bicentennial and Neighbors United Undoing Racism.