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Museum Theater: Sharper Family Series


Cate Sharper was a woman enslaved in Maryland in the mid to late 1700s. Her name, and that of her son, appear in the probate records of the Prince George’s county family that enslaved her. How she came to this land and what happened to her and her son we do not know from the records that survived the intervening 250 years. But because she was a real woman who lived and worked this land, we want to remember her. With the help of staff and research, we have created a story that could have been her story—or the story of any enslaved woman during this period of Maryland history. [Read more about Cate Sharper’s story]

This two-part Sharper Family Museum Theater series brings to life the stories of Cate Sharper (a woman enslaved in the mid-1700s) and the family she could have had.

In part one, Sisters Forever, Cate Sharper is reunited with her baby sister, Mary Ann Sole. Mary Ann has been granted her freedom while her sister, Cate, continues to toil through the hard work associated with bondage on a tobacco plantation. During part two, Reunion of Cate and Jack, Cate is reunited with her son, Jack, who was sold to another farm five years earlier, at the age of 12.

Presented this summer through a series of live Zoom sessions, the recordings are now available to view on our YouTube channel. We are grateful to everyone who participated in these sessions, and for the thoughtful dialogue that followed each story.

These stories are difficult to tell, but the lasting legacy of slavery in America is still felt today. We hope these presentations will help foster a new understanding of our shared history and deepen the connection we have with our ancestors.

Resources for additional reading: Library of Congress online collection: Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936 to 1938Maryland State Archives: Blacks Before the Law in Colonial Maryland