MFAW-VT faculty member Kyle Bass’s play, Possessing Harriet, (commissioned by the Onondaga Historical Society and directed by Thazewell Thompson) will be be performed at Syracuse Stage (at Syracuse University) from Oct 19 to Nov 4.
One hundred seventy five years ago, in October of 1839, a beautiful 23-year-old African American woman named Harriet Powell came to Syracuse with the Mississippi family who owned her. During their stay to visit friends in the area, they lodged in a suite of rooms at the very fashionable Syracuse House hotel near Clinton Square. Working at the hotel was a free African American Syracuse resident named Tom Leonard, who also happened to be a “stationmaster” on the Underground Railroad. On the evening of October 7, 1839, with the help of Tom, and a host of other local abolitionists, both white and black, Harriet made her daring escape from bondage and began her harrowing journey to freedom.