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We all know Harriet Tubman as one of the most prominent humans in history. Freeing hundreds of slaves from bondage, Tubman risked her life for freedom. But did you know that she did all this while suffering seizures and severe headaches?

Tubman nearly died as a child. One day, while working, she was recklessly hit in the head with a metal weight when her owner threw it at another slave, missing the intended person and hitting her instead. History would be different if Tubman didn’t survive this. This is just one under-recognized, but important, fact about Tubman.

In this episode, I got the great opportunity to speak to someone who is reviving the critical story of Harriet Tubman.  This person is playwright Lacresha Berry (@BerryandCo)

Lacresha is a high-energy performer from Lexington, Kentucky.  Her recent production, Tubman, is a modern-day, re-created biography of Harriet Tubman.   Through her young protagonist, Araminta (Tubman’s birth name), Lacresha tells the story of a Harlem school girl who is routinely suspended for being outspoken.  Taking place in current times, Lacreasha ties the story of Harriet Tubman to the modern day struggles of black women.

Before pursuing theatre full-time,  Lacresha was a public school teacher in New York City.   In her position, she noticed the disproportionate rate that black children – especially girls – were being suspended.  Most of the time, according to Lacresha, children were suspended for merely being outspoken.  Being outspoken herself, Lacresha found this disturbing and set out to do her part to fix it.

Impressively, Tubman is a one-person show.  For a full hour, Lacresha performs a whole play by herself without a drop in energy.   It’s incredible how she does this.  After seeing Tubman, and her work ethic, I became eager to get her on the show to break down how she does it all!   And I’m happy to present her to you!

In this episode you will learn:

1. How Lacresha got the idea for ‘Tubman’: 4:43
2. How she started acting: 12:30
3. How she memorizes long scripts: 13:35
4. How she raps  27:25
5. How she’s so energetic : 25:50
6. How she handles the temptation of quitting: 35:47
7. How she defines success: 48:16

I hope you enjoy this episode!


Quick Insights from this episode

 


Things mentioned:

Tubman Promo Video

Lacresha performing live! 

Book – Kate Clifford Larson: Bound for the Promised Land

Book – Monique Morris: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools

Harriet Tubman

Veganism

Girl Trek TED Talk – ‘When Black Women Walk, Things Change.’


Follow Lacresha on IG!

Lacresha’s YouTube Page

Interview with BronxNet


 

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