A discussion with leading American writers and thinkers about the truth around Denmark Vesey and his planned uprising, the impact and outcomes in the intervening 200 years, and a look at the present and future of those themes in the South today. Panelists include:
Lee J. Bennett, Jr., Mother Emanuel AME Church Historian and panel moderator
W. Kamau Bell, Comedian, Director, and Executive Producer
Charlamagne tha God, Media Mogul and TV Personality
Dr. Tonya M. Matthews, President & CEO of the International African American Museum
Dr. Tamara Butler, Executive Director of the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture
BAMUTHI (Marc Bamuthi Joseph), Vice President and Artistic Director of Social Impact at the Kennedy Center, librettist and poet
Denmark Vesey Bicentenary | July 14 – 16
The Charleston Gaillard Center, a leader for performing arts in the Southeast, is partnering with Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church and the soon-to-open International African American Museum (IAAM), to mark the bicentenary of freedom fighter Denmark Vesey’s planned uprising to free the enslaved people of Charleston through three days of free and paid cultural performances and conversations. Taking place July 14-16, 2022, the Gaillard Center will open its doors to the Charleston community to acknowledge America’s difficult history of race and slavery, and use arts and entertainment to bridge divides, build dialogues, and support healing in a city that historically saw some of the first enslaved men, women and children enter through its port, and only six years ago, witnessed the racially motivated murder of nine congregants at Mother Emanuel AME Church.
Consisting of discussion panels, musical and comedy performances, and installations, the three-day initiative will bring together prominent artists, scholars, educators, and the community to reflect on Denmark Vesey—a formerly enslaved man and respected, multilingual church leader and businessman—and redefine his place in American history. Attendees will participate in a vital journey of acknowledgement and exploration of the past, present, and future with conversations that reckon with the abominable truths and ongoing repercussions of slavery. The weekend will also include and center performances that aim to facilitate healing through the arts.
Thursday, July 14 at 7:30pm – Truth be Told: Vesey
Friday, July 15 at 8:00pm – Performance by multi-platinum singer, songwriter, producer, and actor Anthony Hamilton
Saturday, July 16 at 5:00pm – Orchestrating Freedom: a free outdoor concert featuring the Charleston Symphony and Lowcountry Voices
Saturday, July 16 at 8:00pm – Performance by Comedian DL Hughley
Learn more about all the events at gaillardcenter.org/denmark-vesey/.