Take My Hand and Follow Me
"Take My Hand and Follow Me"
"I am bound for the promised land,
Bound for the promised land,
Oh, who will come and go with me?
I am bound for the promised land."
Here is ArtReach's newest dramatic School Play for young performers "Harriet Tubman: Take My Hand and Follow Me". The adventure begins in the Maryland swamps and woods where Harriet follows stars and rivers on her great pursuit of freedom. Owls hoot, whippoorwills cry and all things of nature gather around our heroine as she offers her hand to the audience and says, "Take my hand and follow me."
And now we are part of her perilous journey.
The audience participates throughout the play, entering the dark night of the escape and singing the encouraging songs of the Underground Railroad. African American spirituals are woven into the landscape of Harriet's extraordinary life.
in the water, wade in the water, children..."
Together the audience and the performers sing and celebrate Harriet's courageous triumph over slavery:
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, Bound for the Promised Land, Wade in the Water, Amazing Grace and more. The character of Preacher welcomes us into the church of Harriet's youth, inviting us to join her community and sing in harmony with the tale of America's Moses.
The play tells the story of Harriet's life as a hard-worked, ill-used small child who grows into a brave and noble woman. Unable to stand a life of bondage, Harriet leaves behind her family and walks one hundred miles alone. Along the way she meets friends of the Underground Railroad who feed her and give her rest, ensuring that she makes it to freedom in Philadelphia.
"Oh, who will come and go with me?"
Public art mural on the Harriet Tubman Museum and Educational Center, Cambridge, MD
Harriet meets abolitionists and members of the Underground Railroad. She learns that many Americans are opposed to slavery and support her efforts. Against all advice she goes back to the south to bring her friends and family North to liberation.
Harriet Tubman: Moses of the American Underground Railroad
At last Harriet saves her aged parents and provides them with a safe and comfortable home. But her extraordinarily courageous actions are not enough: She serves the Union as a scout, nurse, spy and guide during the Civil War.
"I looked over Jordan and what did I see..."
She lives to be a hundred years old, as she says, "almost as old as Moses himself!" And remains one of the most admired and inspiring legends of American history. Today she is a symbol of American strength and accomplishment. Still today, we look to her example and follow her path to a brighter future. Her last words were: "I go ahead to prepare a place for you."
"Though the river is still wide - keep going!"
"It is fitting that we stop from time to time during the performance to sing the songs of the Underground Railroad as we navigate our way through the landscape of American slavery. When we lift our voices with those of our brothers and sisters, we are letting them guide us. Harriet says "Take my hand and follow me." In this way, we put ourselves in her hands and let her tell us how she endured and triumphed."
Kathryn Schultz Miller, Playwright.
ArtReach's 'Harriet Tubman: Take My Hand and Follow Me' is written for young performers, especially Middle School and High School students. It is also appropriate for College students and professionals. Audiences of all ages will enjoy the play
Perfect for Schools, Churches and Community Groups: Speeches and vocabulary are appropriate for young performers and family or school audiences.
A Flexible Cast of about 25 Students: Easily adapted for a smaller or larger cast. Add as many roles as you like.
Musical CD for Performers and Audience to Sing To: All the Pretty Horses; Swing Low, Sweet Chariot; Follow the Drinkin' Gourd; Bound for the Promised Land; 'Tis a Gift to be Simple; Go Tell It on the Mountain; Wade in the Water; Amazing Grace. Play the CD and sing or use the sheet music for a live piano/organ player. If you already have a choir you will be able to showcase their talents! You may add songs if you like. Also, you may eliminate the music altogether if you wish to present a non-musical play.
Every Performer has an Important Role: Storytellers are involved throughout. Preacher involves the audience through song and 'call and response' participation. Smaller roles have names and important speeches and action. The script offers suggestions to add scenes and characters.
About 45-55 minutes long: Long enough to be a substantial project and short enough to fit properly in school schedules.
Easy Costumes and Scenery: Easy costumes and minimal set. This play can easily be done on a very slim budget.
Teacher's Study Guide: Lots of directing tips and instructions are provided in the Teacher's Guide. The Guide includes Classroom Activities and Discussion as well as a comprehensive Glossary and history background.
Joyous and Uplifting! History is presented with respect and celebration.