Andre De Shields will perform his play on Frederick Douglass in Queens, NY tomorrow, 157 years after Douglass appeared
Tony, Grammy and Emmy award-winning actor Andre De Shields will perform his play on abolitionist Frederick Douglass at City Hall in Flushing, Queens, NY tomorrow on the 157th anniversary of the appearance of Douglass in 1865.
On June 19 – now celebrated as Juneteenth, the day in 1865 slaves in Texas were proclaimed free, which became a federal holiday last year – Douglass gave a speech in Flushing entitled “The Past and the Present”, in which, according to the location, “he addressed the role of African Americans in prewar America.
“Although Douglass began life as a slave, through heroic effort he became one of America’s most important and influential icons,” said De Shields, whose play is call Andre De Shields is Frederick Douglass: My eyes have seen the glory.
The actor won Tony, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Grammy Awards for his portrayal of Hermes, messenger of the gods, in Hadesville. He was also nominated for a Tony Award in Original Broadway Productions of The full Monty and, Play on!for an Emmy Award for her performance in Don’t misbehave and also appeared in the title role of The genius.
The Flushing City Hall performances will open with a presentation of the Juneteenth Gospel by Chuk Fowler and Company, which City Hall says will “invite the audience to reflect on the significance of Juneteenth with images, words and songs, including the anthem, ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ – more commonly known as ‘Black National Anthem’.
The Harlem-born Fowler was a two-time winner of the Apollo Theater Amateur Night, later performing in nightclubs, theaters and hotels, and also taught music at New York public schools.
Affiliated with the Smithsonian, Flushing Town Hall presents multidisciplinary global arts which it says “engage and educate the global communities of Queens and New York to foster mutual appreciation, (support) local, immigrant, national and international artists , developing partnerships and collaborations that strengthen our efforts”
He is also a member of the New York Cultural Institutions Group, which he describes as “a collective of 34 nonprofit museums, performing arts centers, historical societies, zoos and botanical gardens in the five boroughs with a partnership distinct private-public with New York City and a commitment to serving all New Yorkers.