Sherrie Tolliver portrays Harriet Tubman, Tuesday night at Tuscarawas County Main Library.
NEW PHILADELPHIA (TuscoTV) - The Tuscarawas County Public Library System hosted a living history program about Harriet Tubman at the Main Library Tuesday night. Public Service Associate and Coordinator of Adult Programming Laura Hannah says the program was a collaboration with the group, Women In History.
“That’s a group based in Lakewood, Ohio, of about ten to fifteen women who volunteer their time to research and portraying historical figures.”
Hannah says this is the first program of this kind the library has hosted, but she is hopeful it won’t be the last, given upcoming historic milestones.
“Especially since this is the hundredth anniversary of the 19th Amendment, hopefully, we’ll have someone represent one of the female suffragists.”
Tubman was portrayed Tuesday evening by veteran actor Sherrie Tolliver, which Hannah admits is a discrepancy from the library’s events newsletter.
“In the advertisement, there was another name. Unfortunately, Vernice couldn’t come, but Sherrie is very experienced at portraying Harriet Tubman, so we’re really looking forward to seeing her portrayal tonight.”
Tolliver, who joined women in history in 1994, says she prefers to play characters with a rags-to-riches element to their lives, as she finds those stories inspirational and triumphant.
“At a time when being poor, black and female usually meant most doors of opportunity were closed, they dared to dream big dreams and refused to take ‘no’ for an answer.”
She has a BFA in acting from New York University where she minored in African-American History. She currently works as an actress and an Early Childcare Educator.
Tolliver began her performance in full costume and character, entering while singing gospel hymns and slowly clapping her hands. It was a portrayal meant to engage and interact with the diverse group of attendees, and Tolliver continued with a first-person account of Tubman’s life from childhood to her time as a conductor of the underground railroad.
The performance followed an introduction by Coordinator Laura Hannah.
“Harriet Tubman is best known as one of the most famous conductors on the underground railroad… immortalizing her in the minds of Americans and people around the world for well over 150 years,” reads Hannah from, Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero by Dr. Kate Clifford Larson.
“After escaping enslavement in 1849, and driven by her love for family, freedom, community and faith, Tubman dedicated herself to fighting for liberty and equality for the remainder of her long life, securing her place among the nation’s most famous historical figures.”
To learn more about or book programs with Women in history, Hannah says the organization is available at their website: www.womeninhistoryohio.com or by phone.
“You just call them, let them know what dates you would like, what topic you’re looking for, and then they match up who is available for when you want them to come, and who you want to be portrayed.”
For information on future programs from the Tuscarawas County Public Library System, call (330) 364-4474 or visit: www.tusclibrary.org.
RYAN HOUK, TUSCO TV