A Revolution of Her Own! Deborah Sampson | portrayed by Judith Kalaora

Thursday Jan 17 at 7pm – Headquarters Library, Spartanburg, FREE

Music TBA

January 17, 1781 as Daniel Morgan trounced Bloody Banastre Tarleton at the Battle of Cowpens, a young self-educated schoolmarm in Massachusetts felt a higher calling – to serve in “A Revolution of her Own!”

After ten years working as a farm hand, Deborah Sampson was strong and possessed the physical capabilities of her male counterparts. And then, on May 23, 1782, wearing an old soldier’s uniform, Deborah bound her chest, tied back her hair, and enlisted in the Fourth Massachusetts Regiment of the Continental Army, under the alias “Robert Shurtlieff.”

Experience Deborah Sampson’s arduous upbringing, one and a half years of active combat and success as the first female American professional soldier as Spartanburg celebrates the turning point in the American reconquest of South Carolina – the Battle of Cowpens. It’s Revolutionary!

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Rosa Parks | Portrayed by Becky Stone

Tuesday February 7 at 7pm – Headquarters Library, Spartanburg, FREE

Music TBA

Sometimes when the status quo needs to be shaken up, it is necessary to take a stand. Other times, one must courageously take a seat.

Rosa Parks is best known for being arrested for sitting in the wrong bus seat. But Parks was not an apolitical, middle-aged lady whose fatigue kept her seated. Both shy and militant she led a rebellious life that was Revolutionary!

When the history of this country is written, when a final accounting is done, it is this small, quiet woman whose name will be remembered long after the names of senators and presidents have been forgotten.
 – US Senator Barak Obama Nov 3, 2005 Rosa Parks Funeral

This Performance celebrates Rosa Park’s Birthday– February 4, 1913

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2019 History Comes Alive Festival:  (June 17, 18, 19, 20)


Duel wits with Alexander Hamilton

Challenge Andrew Jackson

Weep with Jackie Kennedy

Heed the message of Malcolm X

Meet four amazing people at the center of a Revolution – hear their stories – ask them how their world changed. You’ll laugh – you’ll cry – you’ll have lots of questions. And they’ll be answered. Bring your stories. Share your experiences. Get inspired. Because it’s not just history – it’s personal.

All Spartanburg performances will be held at the Headquarters Library in the Barrett Room, . Free parking is available in the lot behind the library. | MAP

All performances are free and open to the public.


Andrew Jackson | portrayed by Larry Bounds

Monday June 17 at 7pm – Headquarters Library, Spartanburg, FREE

Music TBA

Andrew Jackson (the only president with an entire Age named for him) stormed into politics the champion of the Common Man (not, of course to include women, slaves or Native Americans.)

He added vast regions of the South to the US, but it was land brutally wrested from Native Americans. He was the champion of the common white man, who owned over 100 black Americans. He was the Founder of the Democratic Party, whose enemies accused him of being an American Napoleon.

As volatile as the Age of Jackson was, his fight for the rights of the average white male pointed the way for those excluded to seek rights of their own. The women, the slave, the free black and the Native American – rose up to demand Jacksonian Democracy be extended to them. The Jacksonian Era was nothing short of another American Revolution.

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Jackie Kennedy | Portrayed by Leslie Goddard

Tuesday June 18 at 7pm – Headquarters Library, Spartanburg, FREE

Music by TBA

One of the most photographed women of the 20th century, Jackie Kennedy mesmerized foreign leaders and the American people with her style and sophistication, creating a White House renowned for its beauty and culture. At the same time, her youth, privileged upbringing and highly public marriages made her instant tabloid fodder.

In her whirlwind ten-year marriage in the public eye, she gave birth to two children, miscarried, and bore a stillborn daughter and a two-day-old son who died just three months before her husband was assassinated. Her husband’s murder left her soaked in his blood and brains. At JFK’s funeral she held us all together and rekindled our national pride. Her widow’s weeds became a symbol of our own pain.

There is something mysterious and private about this very public person. Was she mythmaker of her husband’s legacy or shell shock PTSD survivor? How did America survive a decade of unprecedented political assassination and unpopular war? How did democracy survive the Revolutionary ‘60s?

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Malcolm X | Portrayed by Darrick Johnson

Wednesday June 19  at 7pm – Headquarters Library, Spartanburg, FREE

Music TBA

Malcolm X is still seen as one of the most controversial figures – from one of the most highly charged periods in American history. His assassination and those of JFK, MLK and RFK rocked the nation. There is nothing more powerful and revolutionary than a martyr’s cause.

Alive Malcolm X was a polarizing figure who both energized and divided African Americans, while frightening and alienating whites. Now, fifty-six years after his death, we are still coming to grips with the complexity and power of his revolutionary message.

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Alexander Hamilton | Portrayed by Ian Rose

Thursday June 20 at 7pm – Headquarters Library, Spartanburg, FREE

Music TBA

Seen the musical? Read the Book? Now at Chautauqua you can personally duel wits with Alexander Hamilton, the Founding Father who mastered the arts of wit, war, and wealth, long before becoming the subject of Broadway’s Hamilton: An American Musical.

An illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, Hamilton epitomizes the American dream — poor immigrant makes good. He went on to help win the Revolutionary War and ratify the Constitution, create the country’s financial system, charm New York’s most eligible ladies, and land his face on our $10 bill.

What did Alexander Hamilton ever do besides get shot in a duel by Aaron Burr? Why did Adams and Jefferson hate him so much? Disputes that arose during America’s first decades continued through American history to our present day. The duel of wits of our Founding Fathers fought illustrates that after the American Revolutionary War was won – the real Revolution began.

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The Spartanburg County Public Libraries have generously sponsored Spartanburg Chautauqua History Comes Alive performances at the Headquarters Library since 2011.