The story of Harriet Tubman is the story of a black woman bravely breaking free from the confines of slavery.
In honor of Black History Month, actress and storyteller Joanna Maddox intends to transport her audience back to the 19th century on Saturday with her portrayal of Tubman.
"What just touched me about her story was the fact that she was so caring for others," Maddox said. "She wanted the others to be free, too, and risked her life to do that."
Dressed in costume, the Atlanta resident will chronicle Tubman's early life as a slave through her journey to freedom and how she helped others gain their independence. She also will sing the songs that were heard on the Underground Railroad.
A Journey to Freedom with Harriet Tubman will be presented in the library's downstairs meeting room from 1 to 2:30 p.m.
Columbia County Library's reference service manager Sherryl James said she first saw Maddox perform four years ago at the Maxwell Branch Library in Augusta.
"I actually felt that I was back in that time," she said. "Without many props, she's able to convey the story in a really realistic way."
Maddox's interest in Tubman was piqued about 10 years ago when she started researching Tubman's story. Three years later, Maddox performed her Tubman skit for two straight days at her son's school.
Since then, Maddox has added several prominent black women to her repertoire, including civil rights activist Rosa Parks, astronaut Mae Jemison, the first black female millionaire Madame C.J. Walker and Olympic champion Wilma Rudolph.
In 2004, Maddox was commissioned by the Carter Center to write about Rachel Clark, who influenced the life of former president Jimmy Carter.
"I had the opportunity to perform that for him for this 80th birthday," she said.
Maddox performs at libraries, schools, universities and at private functions. She will perform her stories of Parks at Lakeside Middle School on Monday, and Tubman at Greenbrier Middle School on Tuesday.
James said the show is appropriate for all ages but should be limited to children who are able to sit quietly through a performance.
By the time guests leave, Maddox said, they will have a notion of the courage Tubman possessed and the sacrifices she made for others.
"By the time she gets her freedom," she said, "everybody can exhale."
For information about Maddox, visit her Web site at www.joannamaddox.com.
For information about Saturday's appearance at the library, call the reference desk at (706) 863-1946.
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