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Freedom Speaks: An evening of reflection and conversation on race in Spartanburg

January 30, 2015 | Press Releases

Spartanburg, SC — Slavery existed in the South until 1865, but rarely did the enslaved men and women get the opportunity to express the experience of slavery and racism from their own perspectives. On February 5, the Spartanburg County Historical Association and Spoken Word Spartanburg will present “Freedom Speaks,” an evening of reflection and conversation on race in Spartanburg beginning with the reading of several interviews from people who were enslaved in Spartanburg. The event will be held 7-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 5, at Spartanburg Regional History Museum in Chapman Cultural Center. Admission is $5 per person, and parental discretion is advised due to harsh language and themes.

Commissioned and recorded by the federal government from 1936 to 1938, these interviews provide the unique opportunity to hear about slavery in Spartanburg from the men and women who experienced it. Marlanda Dekine, Rashad Gault, Cassandra Byrd, and Lindsey Stevens, members of Spoken Word Spartanburg, will read interviews from individuals enslaved in Spartanburg and present poetry based on their reactions to the interviewees’ experiences. Afterward, audience members will be invited to participate in a discussion of topics related to race and racism in Spartanburg, past and present.

This event is the last in a series of programs accompanying Spartanburg County Historical Association’s exhibit “Civil War to Civil Rights: An Exploration of Freedom in Spartanburg,” located at Spartanburg Regional History Museum in the Chapman Cultural Center. The exhibit will run through February 28, 2015.

Spoken Word Spartanburg aims to nurture the raw, uncut performance art of spoken word and slam poetry through performance, academic and community dialogue on social justice and equality, and workshop. The group meets at First Presbyterian Church on the first Monday of each month for “Poetry & Conversation,” to ignite conversation within the Spartanburg community on various topics related to race and racism and hosts regular open mic events and writing workshops. To find out more, visit

Spartanburg County Historical Association explores and preserves the region’s history by collecting and sharing the stories and artifacts of the people who shaped that history.  Historical Association operates Spartanburg Regional History Museum, Seay House, Historic Price House and Walnut Grove Plantation. For more information about Historical Association, visit its website at, “Like” us on Facebook at, “Follow” us on Twitter, or see photos from our special events on Flickr at

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