AfriGeneas States Research Forum
Trail and Tribulations, a historical program about the 1847 slave trial in which Abraham Lincoln was an attorney for the slave owner was presented on 16, 17, and 18 September, 2010 in Oakland, Illinois. Oakland was called Independence, Illinois in 1847.
We held a dress rehearsal of the play, "Three-Fifths of a Man” on 15 September, which was attended by persons active in the various societies as well as members of the media. Dr. David Jorns, past president of Eastern Illinois University wrote the play. I performed the role of Frederick Douglass in the play. Each performance received tremendous reviews.
The play was performed in the Columbian Building which was built in 1890 by expanding the building that had been the tavern of Gideon Ashmore who hid slaves in the basement of the building until he could sneak them out at night to head north to freedom. Roger Ashmore of Oakland, Illinois, again, portrayed his ancestor Gideon Ashmore, an abolitionist and member of the underground railroad who hid the Bryant slave family and helped to defend them in court.
Performers did portrayals of historical underground railroad figures, plantation mistresses, and former slaves. Theses performances were done at the Independence Pioneer Village. Among those were:
Kathryn Harris, Director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois did an outstanding portrayal of Harriet Tubman
The Motherlode String Band of Oakland, Illinois performed 1840s music.
Ed Adams (me) portrayed a free black, former slave, at a log cabin on a homestead complete with apple trees and a horse. This was an additional role for me. My character was born in Virginia in 1777 and migrated to Illinois with his master and set free in 1798. He was 70 years old in 1847.