The Landmark Society of Western New York will present “Walk the Walk: Encounters with Rochester’s African-American Ancestors” Friday night, February 10 at 7:00 p.m. in the Memorial AME Zion Church on Clarissa St. in Rochester’s Corn Hill Neighborhood.
Cindy Boyer, the Director of Public Programs for the Landmark Society, and Delores Jackson Radney, the production’s Artistic Director, discussed the performance Friday on News 8 at Noon.
“For 21 years we have been bringing Rochester’s African-American ancestors back to life performing for students and for the general public,” said Boyer. “We just finished two mornings of incredible performances for over 1,400 school children and we’re ready to share it with the rest of Rochester this evening.”
The performance will last about two hours. “You can expect to see at least five of our wonderful African-American ancestors come to life, including Frederick Douglass, but also his wonderful wife Anna Murray Douglass, our great Civil War soldier George Brown, and the wild man of the west – which Rochester was when he was here – Captain Sunfish, and Bessie Hamm who is our 20th Century ancestor, and of course the wonderful businessman Austin Steward,” said Jackson Radney. “These are all wonderful actors who bring these great stories and these great biographies to life.”
The historical figures being portrayed have something in common. “They all came here and made a tremendous difference in our community despite the obstacles in their way,” Jackson Radney said.
Since 1996, “Walk the Walk” has been an important part of the Landmark Society’s calendar. “The Landmark Society is dedicated to a diverse, inclusive community both in supporting historic preservation, showing that buildings and what happened in those buildings is important to the quality of life in Rochester, and we saw this as a need 21 years ago and that’s what started the program” Boyer said. “This evening’s performance, we should mention, is absolutely free and it includes a cookie reception afterwards. Cookies are great, but the best part is you get to talk to the actors afterwards and discover their journey to get to this point where they perform these iconic characters.”
Jackson Radney noted the Memorial AME Zion Church is celebrating 190 years of being a spiritual sanctuary in Rochester. “Walk the Walk” is the kickoff event for the church’s year long celebration.
For more information, visit the Landmark Society website, click here.