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"Nancy" at Historic Embree Farm

June 19, 2021

In 1820, Elihu Embree published hisnewspaper The Emancipator on MainStreet, Jonesborough. The seven edition paper is the first publication dedicatedsolely to the cause of abolitionism. Embree passed away in December of 1820,and the paper died with him. Even though it was short-lived, The Emancipator had over 2,000subscribers and its reach went all the way to Boston and Philadelphia. In spiteof his abolitionist beliefs, Embree himself was an enslaver. Nancy was anenslaved woman owned by Elihu Embree, and her story will be told on Saturday,June 19th in an original play entitled “Nancy” at the Embree HouseHistoric Farm in Telford.

Written by Anne G’Fellers-Mason,Executive Director of the Heritage Alliance, “Nancy” will follow a year in thewoman’s life, from January 1820 when Elihu Embree wrote his will to January1821 when his will was read before the Washington County court. In his will,Embree tried to free Nancy and her five children, but were his wishes carriedout? What was Nancy feeling and thinking during this time? The play is based onprimary research relying heavily on documents from the Washington CountyArchives. The role of Nancy will be performed by local actress Ubunibi-Afia Short.“I’ve wanted to tell Nancy’s story for a long time,” says Mason, “and it’s anhonor to have such an amazing actress to help tell it. I believe Nancy’s storyshows just how complicated the system of enslavement was in the United Statesand how unjust it was. We know Embree’s story so well. It’s past time we knowNancy’s.”

Three performances will be held onJune 19th with showings at 1:00 pm, 3:30 pm, and 6:30 pm. The showwill take place at the historic Embree House in Telford and will last about anhour. A Q&A session and a chance to tour parts of the Embree House willfollow each performance. Tickets are $12.00 and proceeds from ticket sales willhelp fund the educational programs of the Heritage Alliance. You can purchasetickets through Jonesborough’s online system at jonesborough.com/tickets or by calling the Visitor’s Center at 423-753-1010. Seating islimited, so make sure you purchase your tickets in advance.

June 19this recognized as Juneteenth, or Emancipation Day, a celebration of the day thatword of emancipation finally reached agroup of enslaved people in Galveston, Texas. The Heritage Alliance hopesyou will join us as a part of your celebration that day as we remember Nancyand tell her story.   

The Heritage Alliance is dedicated tothe preservation of the architectural, historical, and cultural heritage of ourregion and to providing educational experiences related to history and heritagefor a wide range of audiences. For more information, visit our website at heritageall.orgor call our office at 423-753-9580.


June 19, 2021