Featured Vocalist from “12 Years a Slave” to Perform at Palace on Feb. 20

NEW BERN, NC Feb. 10, 2014 – Tami Tyree, an actress, historian, musicologist, and featured vocalist in the movie “12 Years a Slave,” will help Tryon Palace honor Black History Month with a musical lecture entitled “New York and the 19th-Century Slavery Question.” Hosted by Tryon Palace’s monthly African American Lecture Series, this free event will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 20, in Cullman Performance Hall.

Tryon Palace - New Bern in the snow

Tryon Palace – New Bern in the snow

Tyree explains that while citizens on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line were arguing the slavery question, slaves were artfully making their own statements. Preserved through oral testimonies, these stories from the hearts and minds of those in bondage were fused with melody and poetic verse to form the earliest religious folk songs. Known today as spirituals, these moving, historical songs from the past are described by Tyree as the freedom cry of enslaved African Americans.

Tyree lives and breathes these first songs of resistance. Noted for her concise and passionate delivery of African American history in song, she will deliver spiritual masterpieces and explain the slavery situation as it appeared in 19th-century America. As a native New Yorker, she will highlight occurrences with an emphasis on the Empire State as a geographical, moral, and civil conduit for the abolition of slavery. Special attention will also be given to her role in the movie “12 Years a Slave” (2013 Golden Globe winner for Best Picture). The lecture is also based upon her series of articles inspired by the movie and the historical and current social issues surrounding it. The publication Reflections on “12 Years a Slave” will be available for purchase.

The Tryon Palace African American Lecture Series offers a new program on the third Thursday of each month. All performances begin at 7 p.m. in Cullman Performance Hall and are free, thanks to a generous donation from the Harold H. Bate Foundation. Special hearing devices are available if needed. Contact Tryon Palace 48 hours in advance of the performance to make arrangements.

For additional information about “New York and the 19th-Century Slavery Question,” and other programs at Tryon Palace, please call (252) 639-3500. Information is also available at www.tryonpalace.org.

Tryon Palace is a unit of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.