Conner Prairie Celebrates Frederick Douglass’ Bicentennial Year with Community Events and More Light: Douglass Returns

FISHERS, Ind. (Tuesday, June 26, 2018) – In celebration of Frederick Douglass’ bicentennial celebration year, Conner Prairie and Asante Children’s Theatre will reprise More Light: Douglass Returns. This full-length play by Celeste Williams was inspired by Frederick Douglass’ historic return to Indiana in 1880. A series of events will be held throughout July to celebrate Douglass’ bicentennial.

“Frederick Douglass said, ‘I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong.’ 200 years later, Douglass’ words are more important than ever before,” said Norman Burns, president and CEO at Conner Prairie. “Conner Prairie is uniquely positioned to help bring diverse communities together in safe spaces where difficult conversations like this one can build bridges across cultures and generations.”

The month of events kicks off with a public event at Noblesville Square from 6-7:15 p.m. on Tuesday, July 10. The event will include a short scene from the play and a book giveaway to youth of Douglass’ autobiography reissued for his bicentennial and part of the “One Million Abolitionists” project by the Frederick Douglass Family Initiative.

“It’s our mission to give voice to important pieces of history so our community can learn from them for the future,” said Catherine Hughes, director of museum theatre and research at Conner Prairie. “We’re excited to reprise the previously untold story of Frederick Douglass’ return to Indiana, especially during the bicentennial celebration year.”

Kenneth B. Morris, Jr., great-great-great grandson of Frederick Douglass and great-great grandson of Booker T. Washington, will discuss the project at Conner Prairie from 6:30-8 p.m. on Wednesday, July 18. In addition to the community conversation, attendees will see a scene from More Light and be part of a book giveaway.

“History lives in each of us, and during the bicentennial year of Frederick Douglass’ birth and beyond, I challenge everyone to learn about his journey and take action in the present-day abolitionist movement,” said Morris. “On behalf of the Douglass family, I am excited to further the mission of the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives to advance freedom through knowledge and strategic action in partnership with Conner Prairie.”

The play connects to the local history of the Roberts Settlement, the first mixed-race settlement in Hamilton County, and will be performed at the following times. All performances will take place in the Lilly Theater at the Conner Prairie Welcome Center. Advance tickets are available at a discounted rate of $5 for guests and $4 for members. Tickets may also be purchased in person (subject to availability) for $7 for guests and $6 for members.

• 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 12
• 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 14
• 7 p.m. on Sunday, July 15
• 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 19
• 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 21
• 7 p.m. on Sunday, July 22

The play, which is supported by the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation, is part of Conner Prairie and Asante Children’s Theatre’s Giving Voice Initiative, which was created to tell untold stories and focuses on the African-American presence in Indiana history.

Visit for tickets and more information.

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