BELLEFONTE, PA —The Black History in Centre County Project will offer two workshop readings of a new play with choral music, “Finding Home: Adeline Lawson Graham, Colored Citizen of Bellefonte.” The staged readings, which are free and open to the public, will take place on Saturday, April 22 at 6:00 p.m., at Faith United Church of Christ, 300 E. College Avenue in State College, and on Sunday, April 23, at 3:00 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church, 128 East Howard Street, in Bellefonte. The play, written by Penn State graduate student Carmin Wong is based on true stories from the life of Adeline Harris Lawson Graham (1856-1930). Adeline was born in Bellefonte, worked as a teenager for a Quaker farmer in Chester County married to a daughter of Bellefonte ironmaster George Valentine, then returned to Bellefonte and served as a domestic servant in the home of former Governor Andrew Curtin. In 1901, she married a prosperous barber and moved to Emporium, PA. She is buried in Bellefonte’s Union Cemetery.
The production will feature music by singers from the Essence of Joy choir and Harrisburg tenor soloist, Christyn Seay, under the direction of Dr. Anthony Leach. Afterward, audience members will be invited to engage in a talk-back with creators Carmin Wong, Charles Dumas, Anthony Leach, and Philip Ruth, Research Coordinator for the Black History in Centre County Project. Donations received at the door will support preservation work of the Bellefonte Cemetery Association.
The Black History in Centre County Research Team is a group of historians, librarians, geographers, writers, and artists who aim to collect, assess, and preserve lost narratives of African American residents of Centre County from 1800 through 1950. In collaboration with local organizations and individuals—Penn State’s College of Liberal Arts, the Penn State University Libraries, the Centre County Library and Historical Museum, and the Bellefonte Historical and Cultural Association—the group aims to place archival resources and artistic and technical expertise in the service of community- collected genealogies, public records, and artifacts. To learn more about the project, see blkctrco.psu.edu.