Giving speech to the spirit of formerly enslaved person Eliza Winston, poet and dancer Mary Moore Easter offered a captivating presentation on Dec. 6. With her co-presenters — Joan Hepburn, a retired Professor of English, with a concentration of West African theater, from St. Olaf College, and Siddeeqah Shabazz, actor at Pillsbury House Theater and the Guthrie Theater, as well as Executive Director of Kulture Klub Collaborative — Easter quoted from Winston’s brief court testimony, along with her own poems, to recreate the life of a woman who escaped to freedom in Minnesota.
The book of poems by Easter, “Free Papers: Poems inspired by the testimony of Eliza Winston, a Mississippi slave freed in Minnesota in 1860,” were partly explained by Easter and partly enacted with Hepburn and Shabazz. The powerful poems jolted the attendees in the Andersen Library audience and those who joined online with a collective electricity.
Mary Moore Easter is an award-winning poet and author, whose books and poetry and articles can be accessed at the U of M Libraries, online or in-person. She also is the founder and Director of Carleton College’s dance program.
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