Commonwealth Speaker to Help Steamtown NHS Celebrate Black History Month

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Date: January 25, 2008

Scranton, PA – Celebrating Black History Month, Steamtown National Historic Site, downtown Scranton, will partner with the Pennsylvania Humanities Council to host Commonwealth Speaker and storyteller, Denise Valentine.  Ms. Valentine will present "From Richard Allen to Cecil B. Moore:  Stories of Freedom and Hope" at the Steamtown Theater on Saturday, February 2 at 1:00 p.m.  The presentation is included in the Park's regular Entrance Fee.


Denise Valentine made her debut as a storyteller, in 1997, with Keepers of the Culture, Inc., (K.O.T.C.) Philadelphia’s Afrocentric Storytelling Group.  Since 2005, she has been a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Storyteller-in-Residence for PhiladelphiaPublic School children.  She uses storytelling to teach cultural literacy, conflict resolution, and empowerment.  In 2004, she traveled to South Africa as a "storytelling ambassador," with a grant from The Leeway Foundation of Philadelphia, to study folklore traditions and the influence of politics on contemporary oral stories.  Denise believes that stories are like roots that connect us to the past ... and wings that carry us into the future.  She tells stories of freedom and hope, oppression and resistance from African and African American History.  Her programs are designed for audiences of all ages to entertain, inspire, encourage exchange between generations, and revitalize the spirit of connectedness and community. 


Ms. Valentine’s interactive storytelling performance will share stories about the African Americans who lived, breathed, and walked the streets of 17th – 20th century Philadelphia.  She will share fictional accounts of the extraordinary, as well as the ordinary, people who participated in the events that shaped the city and the nation.  Her program will also highlight some historic sites such as Penn's Landing, where the ship Isabella landed in 1684 with a cargo of 150 enslaved Africans; the London coffee house where they were auctioned off to local settlers, and Congo Square  where they gathered to await shipment to points south.  Topics will also include great escapes from slavery – to Philadelphia by Henry "Box" Brown and away from Philadelphia by Oney Judge, a slave of George Washington. 


This presentation is a program of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, sponsored in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.  The PHC inspires people to come together to share a life of learning.  Since 1973, the PHC has provided resources that empower local groups to help their communities explore history, literature, the arts, and the ideas that shape the human experience.


Located in downtown Scranton, Pennsylvania, Steamtown National Historic Site is open 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. through March 29, 2008; regular Park hours, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., resume on March 30.  From Interstate 81, follow exit 185 (Central Scranton Expressway); follow signs to the main entrance at Lackawanna Avenue and Cliff Street.  Additional details regarding interpretive and educational programs and activities, and weather related cancellations, may be obtained by calling (570) 340-5200, toll free (888) 693-9391, or by visiting the Steamtown NHS website at



Last updated: February 26, 2015

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