World Premiere of 'The Equality of Night and Day' at Jacob's Pillow

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BECKET, Mass. — Ronald K. Brown / EVIDENCE returns to Jacob's Pillow in Week 2 of the Dance Festival this year from June 29-July 3. 
The company will perform several works, including the world premiere of "The Equality of Night and Day," with noted jazz composer Jason Moran playing live for each performance. Also in Week 2, BODYTRAFFIC will perform on the outdoor Henry J. Leir Stage, and Loni Landon Dance Project featuring Mary Lattimore will perform Solace of Surrender in the Great Lawn Tent on Friday and Saturday.
In addition to live performances, PillowTalks will be offered free of charge in Blake's Barn. Week 2 PillowTalks welcome Festival Photographer Christopher Duggan, who has been documenting Pillow artists since 2006 and whose work appears in the summer-long exhibition in Blake's Barn; and author Kaija Langley, who will talk about a new children's book, "When Langston Dances," written about a young Black boy who studies ballet, which was partly inspired by the Pillow's advocacy for men in dance.
"It is truly an honor to be hosting the world premiere of 'The Equality of Night and Day' – we all fell in love with the power and poetry in this work when we saw an early iteration in the Pillow Lab," said Pamela Tatge, executive and artistic Director of Jacob's Pillow. "To see the work with Jason Moran playing live will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Ron is an artist whose work has brought joy and healing for decades. We need his transcendent brand of dance now more than ever."
In addition to the world premiere of "The Equality of Night and Day," EVIDENCE will perform the works "Upside Down" and "Gatekeepers" in the Ted Shawn Theatre program.

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W.E.B Du Bois Center to Host Elizabeth Freeman Roundtable

SHEFFIELD, Mass. — The W.E.B. Du Bois Center for Freedom and Democracy of Great Barrington will present a roundtable discussion on the life and legacy of Elizabeth Freeman, the first enslaved African American to successfully sue for her freedom in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The roundtable will take place Friday, Aug. 19, at 4 p.m. at Dewey Hall. A reception will follow the roundtable.

This the first in a series of events honoring Freeman's journey to freedom that will take place in Sheffield from Aug. 19-21. A full schedule of events can be found here.

In recent years, Freeman's life and legacy have been interpreted through exhibits at the Colonel John Ashley House in Sheffield, a stop on the Upper Housatonic Valley African American Heritage Trail, and numerous books and publications. 

Much of her public story was shaped by an 1853 biography written by Catharine Maria Sedgwick, the daughter of Freeman's longtime employer. Nationally, Freeman has been memorialized by a statue at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture; her portrait appeared in The 1619 Project, the New York Times' 2019 exploration of the history and legacy of American slavery.

"But Freeman never told her own story," writes Sari Edelstein in "'Good Mother, Farewell': Elizabeth Freeman's Silence and the Stories of Mumbet, an article published by the New England Quarterly in 2019. "The recent proliferation of children's books on Freeman vividly demonstrates the desire for a celebratory national story, one that can be seamlessly woven into grade school curricula that enshrine the founding ideals and ennoble exceptional individuals.

"And yet, Freeman's story is more complex than such accounts allow, and the instrumentalization of her life narrative raises questions about the stories told in the absence or suppression of archival material and about how narrative serves as one tool among many for the containment of black lives, even those that are celebrated."

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