Millicent Sparks as Harriet Tubman

Women’s History Series: Remembering Women of Slavery

March 23, 2019 @ 2:00 pm – 3:45 pm
Wyck Historic House, Garden, and Farm
6026 Germantown Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19144
$25; Friends of Wyck $20; Students under 25 $10
Tess Frydman, Director of Interpretation and Public Outreach

March 23 update:  online sales have closed.  A limited number of tickets are available at the door.  No seating past 2:05pm.

Remembering the Women of Slavery, Lest We Forget

Join friends and neighbors for an afternoon of thoughtful consideration of the lives of women who lived through enslavement in America.

This two-part program is suited for ages 9 to adult.

 Millicent Sparks as Harriet TubmanThe Harriet Tubman Living History Experience

Reverently called “Moses” by the hundreds of enslaved Africans she helped and the thousands of others she inspired, Harriet Tubman (c 1820-1913) became the most famous “conductor” of the Underground Railroad to aid enslaved Africans escaping to free states or Canada. During a ten-year span, she made 19 trips into the South and escorted over 300 of her charges to freedom. And, as she once proudly pointed out to Frederick Douglass, she “never lost a single passenger.”    During the Civil War, Tubman served as a nurse, scout, and spy for the Union army. She also took part in a military campaign that resulted in the rescue of 756 enslaved Africans and destroyed thousands of dollars worth of enemy property.  Harriet Tubman’s life was a monument to courage and determination that continues to stand out in American history.  The Harriet Tubman Living History Experience highlights and heightens public awareness of the Underground Railroad, Civil War, and the life of one of the 19th century’s most celebrated figures:  Harriet Tubman.

Millicent Sparks is an accomplished actor/writer/producer who has performed on local, regional and international stages, film and television.  She was nominated twice for the Barrymore Award in Philadelphia for outstanding lead actor for her performances in Fires In The Mirror with Venture Theatre, and Sty of the Blind Pig with Freedom Theatre, and received the Best Actress award for her portrayal of Angel Allen in Blues For An Alabama Sky with St. Louis Black Repertory Company.  She portrayed Billie Holiday in Lady Day at the Piccadilly Theatre in London, and in her own one woman show, Lady Behind The Gardenia at Freedom Theatre.  She can also be seen in the film, Beloved.  Ms. Sparks, a Germantown resident, regularly portrays Harriet Tubman for school groups, community organizations, churches and special events.


 A reading from Peculiar Friendships: A Fictional Novel That Describes the Evolving Relationships Between Black Women and White Women from Slavery to Current Day (2014) by its author Gwen Ragsdale.

Gwen Ragsdale

After the Harriet Tubman Experience, guests will have the opportunity to hear Gwen Ragsdale read a selection from her fascinating and highly relevant book, Peculiar Relationships. Throughout her book she aptly weaves stories which include historic events and incorporates several artifacts from the Lest We Forget Slavery Museum, making her book even more compelling. Each chapter has different story lines and colorful characters that provide suspenseful, first-person narratives all of which lead up to an explosive cliffhanger ending. She hopes her timely novel will encourage open and honest dialogue about race, gender and recognition of female differences as well as their many similarities.

Gwen Ragsdale is the curator of Germantown’s Lest We Forget Slavery Museum (LWFSM). The Lest We Forget Museum of Slavery provides a unique historical perspective into the reality of slavery for Africans brought to America. It is the only museum of its kind in Philadelphia that exhibits authentic slavery artifacts. LWFSM tears the scab of mystery and shame off the subject of slavery and shines light on the enduring spirit of our African American ancestors and the contributions they have made in the building of America.

In addition to curating LWFSM and authoring Peculiar Relationships, Gwen has produced two award winning documentary films; “Lest We Forget” and “My Slave Sister Myself”. Both films have won numerous national and international “Best Documentary Awards” including Martha’s Vineyard/HBO and New York and Toronto Film Festivals. Several schools and universities have incorporated her films into their studies as a tried and proven teaching tool for diversity. She uses her natural story-telling ability to keep her audiences engaged during book readings and film screenings.


The Remembering Women of Slavery program is presented at Wyck in honor of Wyck’s own Jane Bowne Haines (1790-1843), who joined organizations promoting education for the poor, prison reform, and the abolition of slavery.  The entire Women’s History Series at Wyck is inspired by the wondrous women of Wyck’s past, to continue their legacy of innovation, education and equality.


Thank you to everyone who joined us in 2017 and 2018 for the Harriet Tubman Living History Experience!  Below are pictures from the program.

Harriet talking to child IMG_20170318_112311 IMG_20170318_112459 IMG_20170318_112706