A wise person once said, “If we ignore history, we are doomed to repeat it.” Retired teacher Diane Faison embraces the truth of that statement, and with that in mind, she has created a one-woman performance that enables her audience to take a step back in time and meet the legendary Harriet Tubman. As a local expert on the life and legacy of Harriet Tubman, Diane lends her voice to “The Spirit of Harriet Tubman.”
“I began reenacting the life of Harriet Tubman when I was a teacher,” shared Diane. “I was one of those outside-the-box teachers and I was (and still am!) a firm believer that students will remember more of what they see than what they read. When I needed to teach my students about the impact one person could have on the world, Harriet Tubman was a logical choice.
“What a woman of extraordinary strength and tenacity!” said Diane. “Born as a slave in the 1820s, Harriet Tubman’s life is marked by a fearless determination to change the world. And that change was worth putting her life at risk at least 19 times as she traveled up and down the Underground Railroad, helping to free slaves, including her own parents.”
Diane continued, “It’s a legacy like hers that resonated with me as a woman who stood up for my own rights during the Civil Rights movement of the ‘60s! How well I remember putting my own safety on the backburner because I knew the value of fighting for equality! I knew I was marching for something bigger than myself and that if I could help make a difference, it would be for the greater good of people everywhere.”
For those who have seen Diane’s performance, her passion for Harriet Tubman’s legacy shines. For 55 minutes, Diane adjusts each performance for the audience. “I never wrote a script,” said Diane. “Though I’ve performed ‘The Spirit of Harriet Tubman’ well over 300 times, I decided to base my performance on the true method of story-sharing by African Americans of yesteryear. They didn’t write their stories; they told their stories. I am a traditional storyteller.”
Her method has worked for almost 30 years. As she is frequently called upon to perform for Black History Month (February), “The Spirit of Harriet Tubman” is appropriate for Women’s History Month (March), too, as well as any time Civil War history is being studied.
Audiences who value history and equality among people should see “The Spirit of Harriet Tubman.” Diane Faison embraces all the courage and conviction that Harriet Tubman herself had as she recounts the legacy that laid the foundation for our freedoms today.
Diane performs up and down the east coast. Those who are interested in booking her for a show should call her at 336.676.3120 or visit her Facebook page, Facebook.com/TheSpiritOfHarrietTubman.
Diane has been recognized as a regional artist by Alamance County and has received grants from Wells Fargo Arts in Education through the Winston-Salem Arts Council. She’s also been recognized by the Puffin Foundation.
See Diane perform “The Spirit of Harriet Tubman” on February 17th at the Winston-Salem Public Library! Her performance begins at 2 PM.
“‘The Spirit of Harriet Tubman’ as performed by Diane Faison was one of the most moving presentations I have ever seen! The students were captivated from beginning to end. Ms. Faison’s performance piqued so much interest that I had students coming to the library the next morning asking for books about slavery and Harriet Tubman. Ms. Faison’s passion for this important historical icon truly comes out in her performance.” ~Yvette R. Evans, Media Coordinator, Kimberley Park Elementary School