Town of Jonesborough News Release
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, June 8, 2021
Anne G’Fellers-Mason, Executive Director, Heritage Alliance
Heritage Alliance to Premiere Original Play “Nancy” on June 19 at Embree House Historic Farm
The Heritage Alliance will host an original play, “Nancy,” in honor of Juneteenth on Saturday, June 19 at 1 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at the historic Embree House in Telford. The show will last an hour, and there will be a Q&A session and a chance to tour parts of the Embree House after each performance.
June 19 is recognized as Juneteenth, or Emancipation Day, a celebration of the day that word of emancipation finally reached a group of enslaved people in Galveston, Texas in June of 1865. The Heritage Alliance invites you to join them as they celebrate Nancy and tell her story.
In 1820, Elihu Embree published his newspaper The Emancipator on Main Street, Jonesborough. The seven edition paper is the first publication dedicated solely to the cause of abolitionism. Embree passed away in December of 1820, and the paper died with him. Even though it was short-lived, The Emancipator had over 2,000 subscribers and its reach went all the way to Boston and Philadelphia. In spite of his abolitionist beliefs, Embree himself was an enslaver. Nancy was an enslaved woman owned by Elihu Embree, and her story will be told in this original play “Nancy.”
Written by Anne G’Fellers-Mason, Executive Director of the Heritage Alliance, “Nancy” will follow a year in the woman’s life, from January 1820 when Elihu Embree wrote his will to January 1821 when his will was read before the Washington County court. The play is based on primary research relying heavily on documents from the Washington County Archives. The role of Nancy will be performed by local actress Ubunibi-Afia Short.
“I’ve wanted to tell Nancy’s story for a long time,” says Mason. “It’s an honor to have such an amazing actress to help tell it. I believe Nancy’s story shows just how complicated the system of enslavement was in the United States and how unjust it was. We know Embree’s story so well. It’s past time we know Nancy’s.”
Tickets are $12 and proceeds from ticket sales will help fund the educational programs of the Heritage Alliance. You can purchase tickets through Jonesborough’s online system at jonesborough.com/tickets or by calling the Visitor’s Center at 423.753.1010. Seating is limited, so purchase tickets in advance.