A dramatic presentation of what life was like for slaves in Louisiana and a performance by OperaCreole of music by African American composers are part of the 10th annual celebration of Black History Month on Saturday, Feb. 28, at Magnolia Mound Plantation.
The program, presented by The Friends of Magnolia Mound Plantation in association with BREC, is free and gets started at 2 p.m. at the 2161 Nicholson Drive site.
Oneal Isaac, who has been the primary contributor and participant in the event since its inception, will reprise “In Their Own Voices: American Slaves Tell Their Story,” which was presented at the first Black History Month event in 2005.
Isaac, an award-winning actor, storyteller and playwright, will perform monologues based on actual interviews with former slaves. The interviews were part of the Slave Narrative Collections compiled by the Works Progress Administration during the Depression. Isaac also found collections of oral histories from ex-slaves at the Louisiana State Archives, Louisiana State Library and in the Archives Collection of the John B. Cade Library at Southern University.
OperaCreole, based in New Orleans, will also be a part of the celebration.
The ensemble, founded and directed by mezzo-soprano Givonna Joseph, will perform spirituals, music of African-American composers and a variety of other selections.
OperaCreole singers are professional artists, educators and international soloists with roots in New Orleans, members of whom have recently been featured in roles in the New Orleans Opera’s productions of “Noah’s Flood,” “Carmen,” “Madama Butterfly,” “Samson et Dalila,” “Il Trovatore,” “Salome” and “Porgy and Bess.”
Ensemble singers are Joseph, Ivan Griffin, Ebonee Davis, Tyrone Chambers, Aria Mason, Brandon Richardson, Prentiss Mouton, Vickie Thomas, Crystal Morris and Ariana Douglas.
The Friends of Magnolia Mound is a member organization of the Community Fund for the Arts. Magnolia Mound is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is accredited by the American Association of Museums. This event is funded in part by the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge.
“Enslaved Life at Rosedown,” an overview of the history of African-American enslavement, specifically in Louisiana, will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, at Rosedown Plantation, 2501 La. 10, St. Francisville.
Discussed during the program will be the layout of the plantation, including outbuildings, home sites, work areas and fields. The program will begin in the carriage turn in front of the main house.
Also at Rosedown is an exhibit showcasing the lives and accomplishments of African Americans, with photographs, biographies and music of African Americans who had a profound impact on history and culture.
Notable individuals included in the exhibit are George Washington Carver, surgeon Alexander Augusta, actress Hattie McDaniel, composer and musician Duke Ellington, artist Clementine Hunter and writer/historian W.E.B. DuBois.
The exhibit, which is in the gift shop conference room, is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and ends on Saturday, Feb. 28. For more information, call (225) 635-3110 or visit lastateparks.com.