Originally published 05/06/2013
James Horn is the vice president for research and historical interpretation at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and one of the scholars involved in the recent discovery of Jane’s remains. He is the author of “A Land as God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of America.”IN the bitterly cold winter of 1607, Capt. John Smith was captured by a large war party of Pamunkey Indians on the banks of the Chickahominy River, in what is now Virginia. Smith was led by his captors to a nearby hunting village, where he was taken to a long house and given enough venison and bread to feed 20 men. The food he did not eat was placed in baskets and tied on a pole over his head. About midnight they set the food before him once more and then in the morning brought as much food again, which made the fearful captain, later describing his capture in the third person, “think they would fat him to eat him.”
Originally published 03/14/2013
Before Erica Hubbard could portray an enslaved housekeeper, which she’ll do this weekend at Colonial Williamsburg, she had to learn some things about life in revolutionary times — including how slaves interacted with their masters circa 1776.These lessons are so painful that some African American actors simply can’t bear to learn them. Even as Colonial Williamsburg and other historic sites have tried to do justice to the story of slavery and attract more minority visitors, they’ve sometimes had difficulty persuading black actors to take jobs interpreting enslaved figures.It was easy to see why as Hubbard was being schooled on slavery in 18th-century Virginia one recent Sunday by two men from Colonial Williamsburg’s theatrical division....