It’s rewarding to read about history; it’s transformational to feel as if you’re there.

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to hear from and interact with notable figures in history? Well, you can. In July 2017, join Maryland Humanities at our 23rd annual Chautauqua living history series.

Chautauqua 2017: Voices from the Great War

“The world must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty.

With these words, President Woodrow Wilson asked the United States Congress to declare war on Germany. For nearly three years, war raged in Europe after the 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria sparked a diplomatic crisis. Despite attempts to remain neutral, because of various acts of aggression by Germany, including the death of 128 Americans in the German attack on the British passenger liner RMS Lusitania, the United States officially entered World War I in April 1917.

For our 23rd season, we are commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the United States’ entry into the Great War as three World War I-era figures come to life on the Chautauqua stage.

Illustration by Tom Chalkley
Illustration by Tom Chalkley

W.E.B. Du Bois, a sociologist and scholar, was one of the most important African American activists of the early twentieth-century. He 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, Frederick Douglass, and Benjamin Banneker at Chautauquas in Maryland, Colorado, and South Carolina and at schools in the Northern Marianas.

General John Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Force on the Western Front in World War I, was one of America’s most accomplished generals. He will be portrayed by Doug Mishler, an independent scholar who has taught at the University of Nevada and Western Washington University and has appeared at Maryland Humanities’ Chautauqua as P. T. Barnum, Theodore Roosevelt, William Lloyd Garrison, Henry Ford, and Upton Sinclair.

President Woodrow Wilson, a leader of the Progressive Movement, was the 28th President of the United States. He will be portrayed by Judd Bankert, who has been portraying President Wilson as part of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Birthplace’s living-history program since 2000.

Join us this summer at seven locations across the state.

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

    Friday, July 7 – General John Pershing
    Saturday, July 8 – W.E.B. DuBois
    Sunday, July 9 – President Woodrow Wilson

    All performances will begin at 7:00 PM

  • Cecil County
    Elkton Central Library
    301 Newark Avenue, Elkton, MD 21921

    Saturday, July 8 – General John Pershing

    Performance will begin at 6 PM

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

    Tuesday, July 11 – President Woodrow Wilson

    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 11 – General John Pershing
    Wednesday, July 12 – W.E.B. DuBois
    Thursday, July 13 – President Woodrow Wilson

    All performances will begin at 6:45 PM and will be held outdoors. Please bring folding chair. In case of severe weather, program will be held indoors in the Fine Arts Building Theatre.

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

    Wednesday, July 5 – General John Pershing
    Thursday, July 6 – W.E.B. DuBois
    Friday, July 7 – President Woodrow Wilson

    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 10 – W.E.B. DuBois

    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 12 – General John Pershing
    Thursday, July 13 – W.E.B. DuBois
    Friday, July 14 – President Woodrow Wilson

    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 10 – General John Pershing
    Tuesday, July 11 – W.E.B. DuBois
    Wednesday, July 12 – President Woodrow Wilson

    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

Chautauqua Sponsor: Baltimore County and Charles County

Chautauqua Sponsor: Baltimore County

Baltimore County Commission on the Arts & Sciences logo

Chautauqua Sponsor: Talbot County

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 some references to war can be dark.

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
Join the Conversation   TwitterFacebookYouTube
Featured Donor or Partner