LIVE AND LEARN PRESENTS: THE FRANCES PROJECT

From the ratification of the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1870 fifty years passed until 1920, when 36 states approved the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing voting rights to women. We explore the intertwined history of these two benchmarks in American history with six interactive events you won't want to miss. Hear from contemporary scholars, archivists, and authors; listen to the words of Frances Harper, who fought for both Black and female suffrage, get inspired to expand and protect our democratic rights, today.

BEFORE THE FIFTEENTH

February 14, 2020, 1-3PM

National Constitution Center

 

Register for the event HERE

 

Through the eyes of poet and activist Frances Harper, take a first-hand look at the fight for freedom and equality that began in the 1850s and continued to the passage of 15th Amendment. The event includes the curator's tour of "Civil War & Reconstruction: The Battle for Freedom and Equality," featuring original archival materials, and a performance of the original stage production of "Fourteen," a play that uses only the words of 19th century activists and political leaders, like Frederick Douglass, to illuminate the stakes of political freedom.

The tour and play will feature Frances Harper's definitive speech, "The Great Problem to be Solved," in which she sets the stakes for Reconstruction.

A discussion will follow the performance. 

MEDITATIONS ON BLACK MASCULINITY

February 20, 2020, 6:30-8:30PM (doors open at 6PM)

African American Museum in Philadelphia

Register for the event HERE

Live and Learn/The Frances Project is thrilled to welcome three essential young artists to the African American Museum in Philadelphia to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment, ratified February 3, 1870, with contemporary meditations on Black masculinity. The program includes readings and presentations by poet David Gaines, photographer Felli Maynard, and playwright Momo St. Clair and an engaging discussion on what Frances Harper called, in a speech, America's great "element of strength." 

The event will take place in the gallery of "In Conversation: Visual Meditations on Black Masculinity," a groundbreaking and wide-ranging photographic exhibition. 

"Fashion with words your tongues of fire," Frances Harper wrote in her poem "The 15th Amendment." Now those words come alive in our vastly different but strikingly familiar time.

WRITERS RESIST PHL: WRITE THE VOTE

INSPIRED BY TONI MORRISON

March 29, 2020, 1-4PM

*NOTE* EVENT POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19

Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Branch

Register for the event HERE

 

Join the flagship event of the national day of literary protest to engage in what Morrison termed "Word Work:" using language to celebrate our differences, reaffirm our dignity, and embrace our humanity. Memorialize one of America’s greatest writers and reclaim the power of words to uplift us, to communicate truth, and to incite change. 

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper's poems on the separation of enslaved mothers from their children inspired Morrison's great novel Beloved. Listen to Philadelphia actor Diane Leslie perform Harper's work, along with readings by novelists, poets, scholars, journalists, playwrights, performers, and activists. 

WOMEN RISK EVERYTHING [POSTPONED]

May 7, 2020 6-8PM

Philadelphia City Archives

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This dynamic evening will reveal the extent to which Black women, particularly, have risked their lives to advance Civil Rights. We start with a screening of the hour-long film, Sisters in Freedom, about the multi-racial group of women who agitated for abolition, Black rights, and women's rights only to be met with violence. After the film: a reading and discussion with poet DaMaris B. Hill, author of A Bound Woman Is A Dangerous Thing: The Incarceration of African American Women from Harriet Tubman to Sandra Bland. Professor Hill's book brings to life the struggle and beauty of Philadelphia women who, like Frances Harper, sought justice for themselves and others. During the event archivists will present police, court, and jail records related to some of these historic figures. 

JUNETEENTH! DRAMATIC READING OF MR. DUBOIS

June 17, 2020 6-7:30PM

Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central

VIA FACEBOOK LIVE

With generous support of 

Register for the remote event HERE

It is 1896, Philadelphia, and Dr. W.E.B. DuBois has found himself locked up in a magical hole. How will he find his way out? Watch the premier dramatic reading of Mr. DuBois: A Myth, by Momo St. Clair, a startling work that opens the lid on race, class, and gender in 19th century America—and today.

NINETEENTH AMENDMENT

August 2020 (Date and time TBA)

National Constitution Center

 

During the week of national and citywide celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, through the words of poet and activist Frances Harper explore how the women’s rights movement grew alongside the anti-slavery movement and ultimately gained momentum during Reconstruction as part of the ongoing battle for freedom and equality for all. An interpretive tour of the National Constitution Center's exhibit will include the performance of Frances Harper's speech "We Are All Bound Up Together," given at the Eleventh Women's Rights Convention. "You white women speak here of rights. I speak of wrongs," she said, imploring white women to see the Black freedom struggle as the same as their own, intertwined.

FESTIVAL OF DEMOCRACY

September 2020, (Date and time TBA)

Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library

Program details to be announced soon.