Steal Away: The Story of a Homesteader and an Exoduster

Steal Away is a dramatic one-woman show, written and performed by Penny Musco, about a little-known migration of African Americans.
Set in 1880, Steal Away is told from the perspective of Priscilla, a white woman who leaves the East to homestead in the Plains with her husband and children. She crosses paths with Abigail and her family, former slaves who fled the South after Reconstruction ended. The narrative weaves together historical accounts of those who sought free land by taking advantage of The Homestead Act, and the significant but nearly forgotten movement of an estimated 20,000-40,000 blacks who headed elsewhere when the last of the federal troops were removed from the South. These African American homesteaders called themselves Exodusters, likening their flight to the Biblical exodus of Moses and his fellow slaves out of Egypt.
The title comes from the Negro spiritual of the same name. Most spirituals have a double meaning, and this song not only refers to “stealing away” home to heaven after death, but also could telegraph a slaveʼs intention to escape. Sponsored by the Friends of Elsie Quirk Library.

At: Elsie Quirk Public Library

ENGLEWOOD Florida, 34223

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