It’s rewarding to read about history, but to feel like you’re there is transformational.

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to hear from and interact with notable figures in history? Well, in July you can. This summer, join Maryland Humanities at our 24th annual Chautauqua living history series.

Chautauqua 2018: Seeking Justice

“Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both.

With these words, Eleanor Roosevelt asked a complicated question: “what is justice?” Throughout 2018, Maryland Humanities is engaging with this challenging notion. For our 24th season, we celebrate the contributions to the search for justice by bringing three historical activists to life on the Chautauqua stage.

Illustration by Tom Chalkley

Frederick Douglass, a writer, orator, and abolitionist, was one of the most important African-American activists of the nineteenth century. During the “Year of Frederick Douglass,” the bicentennial celebration of his birth, this Maryland icon will be portrayed by Bill Grimmette, a living history interpreter, storyteller, actor, and motivational speaker who has appeared as Martin Luther King, Jr., W.E.B. DuBois, and Benjamin Banneker at Chautauquas in Maryland, Colorado, and South Carolina.

Eleanor Roosevelt, a humanitarian, diplomat, and the longest serving First Lady in American history, was also an important advocate for justice. She will be portrayed by Susan Marie Frontczak, a writer, speaker, living history presenter, and storyteller. Frontczak has appeared throughout the United States as Marie Curie, Clara Barton, Mary Shelley, and Irene Castle.

Thurgood Marshall was a civil rights activist from Baltimore who broke barriers as the lead NAACP attorney in Brown v. Board of Education and as the first African American Supreme Court Justice. He will be portrayed by Brian Anthony Wilson, a film and television actor and producer who will perform a scene from the play Thurgood by George Stevens, Jr., followed by a dialogue with Lenneal Henderson. Henderson is an internationally recognized scholar who brought Marshall to life in the 2010 Maryland Humanities Chautauqua tour.

Join us this summer at eight locations across the state.

  • Anne Arundel County

    Crofton Community Library
    1681 Reidel Road, Crofton, MD 21114

    Saturday, July 14- Frederick Douglass

    The performance will begin at 2:00pm

  • Baltimore County

    Centre for the Arts Theatre at The Community College of Baltimore County, Catonsville
    800 South Rolling Road, Catonsville, MD 21228

    Friday, July 13 – Frederick Douglass
    Saturday, July 14 – Eleanor Roosevelt
    Sunday, July 15 – Thurgood Marshall

    All performances will begin at 7:00 PM

  • Cecil County

    Elkton Central Library
    301 Newark Avenue, Elkton, MD 21921

    Saturday, July 7 – Frederick Douglass

    Performance will begin at 6 PM

    Elkton Station Performing Arts Hall at Cecil College, Elkton Station
    107 Railroad Avenue, Elkton, MD 21921

    Tuesday, July 10 – Thurgood Marshall

    Performance will begin at 7:00 PM

  • Charles County

    The College of Southern Maryland, La Plata
    8730 Mitchell Road, La Plata, MD 20646

    Tuesday, July 10 – Frederick Douglass
    Wednesday, July 11 – Eleanor Roosevelt
    Thursday, July 12 – Thurgood Marshall

    All performances will begin at 6:45 PM and will be held in the Fine Arts Center Theatre.

  • Garrett County

    Garrett College Auditorium at Garret College
    687 Mosser Road, McHenry, MD 21541

    Thursday, July 5 – Frederick Douglass
    Friday, July 6 – Eleanor Roosevelt
    Saturday, July 7 – Thurgood Marshall

    All performances will begin at 7:00 PM

  • Harford County

    Chesapeake Theater at Harford Community College
    401 Thomas Run Road, Bel Air, MD 21015

    Monday, July 9 – Eleanor Roosevelt

    Performance will begin at 7:00 PM.

    Sponsored by Harford Community College and the Harford County Public Library

  • Montgomery County

    Globe Hall in the High Technology Building at Montgomery College, Germantown
    20200 Observation Drive, Germantown MD 20876

    Wednesday, July 11 – Frederick Douglass
    Thursday, July 12 – Eleanor Roosevelt
    Friday, July 13 – Thurgood Marshall

    All performances will begin at 7:00 PM

  • Talbot County

    Steamboat Building at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum
    213 N. Talbot Street, St. Michaels, MD 21663

    Monday, July 9 – Frederick Douglass
    Tuesday, July 10 – Eleanor Roosevelt
    Wednesday, July 11 – Thurgood Marshall

    All performances will begin at 7:00 PM and will be held outdoors. Please bring folding chair. In case of severe weather, program will be held in the Steamboat Building auditorium.

Watch past Chautauqua performances

Baltimore County & Charles County Sponsor


Baltimore County Sponsor

Baltimore County Commission on the Arts & Sciences logo

Talbot County Sponsors

The Talbot County Arts Council logo


Karen & Langley Shook

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in Chautauqua are the performers’ interpretations of the historical figures and do not necessarily reflect the views or position of Maryland Humanities, Chautauqua host sites, or our funders. Performances do not contain adult content, but there is some use of a deeply offensive and disrespectful term that is used in its historical context and is a direct quote from the historical figure portrayed.

Maryland Humanities is a statewide, educational nonprofit organization that creates and supports educational experiences in the humanities that inspire all Marylanders to embrace lifelong learning, exchange ideas openly, and enrich their communities.
Maryland Humanities
108 West Centre Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201-4565
(410) 685-0095
(410) 685-0795 fax
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