Mt. Vernon Play Depicts Heroes Of Underground Railroad

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Playwright Vienna Carroll (left) and Director/Musician Keith Johnston performed a play about the unsung heroes of the Underground Railroad on Saturday at the Mount Vernon Public Library.
Playwright Vienna Carroll (left) and Director/Musician Keith Johnston performed a play about the unsung heroes of the Underground Railroad on Saturday at the Mount Vernon Public Library. Photo Credit: Greg Maker

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Playwright Vienna Carroll and Director/Musician Keith Johnston performed “Singin Wid A Sword In Ma Han,” a play depicting the untold heroes of the Underground Railroad, Saturday at the Mount Vernon Public Library in celebration of Black History Month.

Carroll, who wrote the play in 2008, said it is about slaves that run away for freedom and what they go through along the way. Having grown up in York, Pa., Carroll wants to tell stories about the people from that area who are often forgotten.

“These stories are woefully under told,” Carroll said. “I found out later in life that my hometown was a hotbed for abolitionist activity. We hear mostly about the Quakers, but the black people were the glue to how the fugitives found the Quakers to get to freedom.”

Johnston said that slaves are usually misrepresented as caricatures, when in reality they were intelligent human beings. Johnston said it is important to tell the untold stories of people who fought for freedom and devised ways to a better life.

“They survived one of the worst holocausts in human history to survive, build cities and restore some sense of sanity,” Johnston said.

Carroll said another purpose of the play was to tell a story in which the slaves win, adding that it was regular people along with historical figures Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass who fought for freedom.

“This is a very important story and another take on what we learn and don’t learn in school,” Johnston said.

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Thank you, Friends of Mt. Vernon Library. "Singin Wid A Sword In Ma Han" was a superb Black History Month event. I loved how diverse the audience was--even the little ones were spellbound. Encore!