Tryon Palace is recognizing Black History Month with the one-woman play, “Colored Silk: A Mother’s Civil War Odyssey.”
The play is based on the life of Elizabeth “Lizzie” Hobbs Keckley, born 1818 and died 1907. She was born into slavery but, after buying her family’s freedom, worked her way to becoming the exclusive seamstress to Mary Todd Lincoln.
The play, which is being offered at no charge to the public, will begin at 7 p.m. Feb. 16 in the Cullman Performance Hall located within the North Carolina History Center in New Bern.
Playwright, historian and actress, Tami Tyree, who wrote the play, was inspired by Elizabeth Keckley’s memoir, “Behind the Scenes: Thirty Years a Slave, Four Years in the White House” published in 1868, according the palace.
Born a slave in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, Keckley’s father was the owner of the plantation, Col. Burwell. She became a seamstress and after having a child of her own, Keckley bought their freedom through her skills and her ability to promote her business and network. She rose to fame as Mary Todd Lincoln’s exclusive dressmaker during her White House years and is now recognized as America’s first Black fashion designer and entrepreneur.
Tyree, inspired by Keckley’s memoir, “delves into both the ‘glamour and grit’ of her life. Colored not only with silks and satin, but also the scars of sexual trauma, complications of mulatto status, motherhood, and the battle for she and her son’s freedom, story is one of love, marriage, and the ultimate sacrifice; a son as a casualty in the Civil War,” according to the release.
Following the performance there is to be a presentation featuring readers of letters from the National Archives written to President Lincoln by Civil War mothers and soldiers in the United States Colored Troops.
For more information, call Sharon Bryant, Tryon Palace African American outreach coordinator at 252-639-3592, or email email@example.com.