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Free Musical Performance of 1619 at the Orpheum Theater

In celebration of Black History Month, members of the Galesburg area community are invited to attend a free hour-long performance of “1619: The Journey of a People” on Saturday, February 5, at 1:00 pm at the Orpheum Theatre in Galesburg. “1619” commemorates the struggles, recognizes the heroes, and critically analyzes the American journey towards freedom and equality for African-Americans. “1619” is appropriate for all ages and will be followed by a Q&A session.

On August 20th, 1619, 20 enslaved Africans arrived in Jamestown, VA. The 400-year journey that followed would change a nation and the world. “1619: The Journey of a People” is a dynamic theatrical and lecture experience featuring Ted Williams III and additional performers. Mr. Williams is the creator of “1619,” which was nominated for the 2020 August Wilson Award for Best Writing of a Musical by the Black Theater Alliance Awards. Mr. Williams is an actor, an author, and a teacher. From the beginning of American slavery to the Reconstruction, the Great Migration, the Civil Rights Era, and the modern movements for justice, Williams uses history to explain America’s current reality.

“1619” is presented by the Galesburg Public Library in partnership with the NAACP Galesburg and the Galesburg Public Library Foundation through the Illinois Humanities Road Scholars Speakers Bureau. Please visit the calendar of events at for information on this and other programs offered by the Galesburg Public Library, or find us on Facebook at You can also contact Jane Easterly at or 309-343-6118.

The Illinois Humanities Road Scholars Speakers Bureau invites Illinois authors, artists and educators to share their expertise and enthusiasm with people throughout the state, enabling local nonprofit organizations to present free-admission cultural programs to their communities. The current edition of the Road Scholars Speakers Bureau, presented in cooperation with the Illinois Bicentennial Commission and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, consists of presentations exploring Illinois history and culture in recognition of the state’s 200th anniversary.

Illinois Humanities strengthens the social, political, and economic fabric of Illinois through constructive conversation and community engagement. Founded in 1974 as the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Illinois Humanities is the only statewide proponent of the public humanities in Illinois. Through public programs, education and training, and grantmaking, Illinois Humanities connects Illinoisans who might not otherwise encounter one another.

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