‘1619: The Journey of a People, The Musical,’ coming to Evanston

EVANSTON, ILL. — 1619: The Journey of a People, The Musical, written by Ted Williams III, comes to Evanston this spring for two performances, a special presentation for Evanston Township High School faculty and students this Friday, May 19, and a public performance at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 17, as a part of the City of Evanston’s Juneteenth Day Celebration, in Ingraham Park, Evanston.

1619: The Journey of a People commemorates the arrival of the first 20 Africans on the shores of Point Comfort, Virginia on August 20, 1619. In it, three modern characters lead audience members on a journey through multiple performance pieces, leaving viewers both inspired and challenged about the progress of America’s African sons and daughters. This production uses various musical forms including hip-hop, jazz, and blues, to commemorate the struggle for survival and equality and to celebrate the stories and journeys of America’s African sons and daughters. The musical will be performed by 3rd Dimension Performance Group (3D) and is presented in partnership with Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre, Evanston Public Library, and Evanston Township High School.

1619 has been received with standing ovations and enthusiastic accolades by audiences at Chicagoland college theaters, Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia, and venues throughout the country, including Clarksville, Tennessee, and East St. Louis, Illinois. The musical  was nominated for the 2020 August Wilson Award for the Best Writing of a Musical by the Black Theater Alliance Awards, Inc. and was featured in Clarksville, TN’s inaugural Juneteenth Festival. Current and former funders include the Illinois Arts Council, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Howard Brown Health, Neighborhood Access Grant, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events City of Chicago and Illinois Humanities Road Scholar.



Performed by 3rd Dimension Performance Group
Presented in partnership with Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre, Evanston Public Library, & Evanston Township High School.

Saturday, June 17 at 2:30 pm
Ingraham Park, Asbury Ave. and Leonard Place, Evanston. Public performance.

This performance of ‘1619: The Journey of a People, is free to the public, made possible through the support of our partners.

About the playwright

Ted Williams III has taught Political Science at Wright College, Chicago State University, and he is the Chairman of the Social Sciences Department at Kennedy-King College. Williams is the former host of WYCC-PBS television’s The Professors weekly talk show and has appeared in commercials and training videos for companies including McDonald’s, Empire Carpet, Six Flags, Federal Express. Additionally, he is the author of the book, The Way Out: Christianity, Politics, and the Future of the African American Community, a recent contributor to the Third World Press text, Not Our President, and a former candidate for the Chicago City Council.

About the 3rd Dimension Performance Group

3D was established in 1999 to create and present quality entertainment that is thought-provoking, artistically dynamic, and socially relevant. In the years since its inception, 3D has provided programming for a host of private and public sector clients, toured extensively, and facilitated arts instruction for thousands of students.

About Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre

Founded in 1979, Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre is a professional, award-winning theatre company that has been thrilling audiences with over four decades of unique, inspirational, and invigorating African American and African Diaspora-centered storytelling. The company has been honored in the Black Theatre Alliance/Ira Aldridge Awards. From original plays to the best of Broadway, Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre has remained committed to supplying the very best in theatre. “Umoja!! ….Working Together in Unity” is the foundation from which FJT began and continues to thrive!

About Evanston Township High School

Evanston Township High School (ETHS) District 202 is a four-year comprehensive high school occupying a 65-acre campus in Evanston, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago along the Lake Michigan shore. ETHS was established in 1883 and serves the city of Evanston and a small portion of the neighboring village of Skokie for a total district population of approximately 78,000.

The attendance area of the school is home to Northwestern University and Oakton Community College, and has a variety of office developments, technology parks, light industrial and shopping districts. Together, the two communities offer an ethnic, economic, racial, and cultural diversity that is reflected in the student body. Evanston Township High School has more than 270 certified staff members, a majority of whom have a Master’s degree or beyond. ETHS is fully accredited by the State of Illinois.

About the Evanston Public Library

For 150 years, the Evanston Public Library has promoted the development of independent, self-confident, and literate community members. With almost 2,000 programs and a million books and other materials circulated every year, the Evanston Public Library brings resources to its nearly 40,000 cardholders wherever they are – at the Main Library in downtown Evanston, the Robert Crown Branch Library, program sites with our partners across the city and online at epl.org


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