The 50th Anniversary of the Alston-Pleasants Scholars Fund was celebrated in a Person Place Preservation Society program in Louisburg, NC on May 25, 2008.
Timothy J. Williams, Ph.D.
Timothy J. Williams, Ph.D., a native of Blacksburg, VA, and an alumnus of Wake Forest University, specializes in antebellum southern cultural and intellectual history. Tim presented a historian’s perspective on the life of Willis “Congress” Alston at the May 25, 2008, Alston-Pleasants Commemoration Program.
Elizabeth Michaels, of The American Historical Theatre, has, for more than six years, portrayed historically significant women, including vibrant interpretations of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Rosie the Riveter as well as Dolley Payne Todd Madison, a native of North Carolina and the wife of our fourth President, James Madison.
Elizabeth says that she “… has been drawn to these strong women from America’s past, especially to women with strong ethical standards and well-developed social skills who showed courage in the face of adversity.”
In discussing her portrayal of Dolley Madison, Elizabeth has said that “What really drew me to Dolley was, in addition to her obvious courage and determination, her extraordinary personality. She combined charisma, genuine kindness, great intelligence and an attractive creativity. Dolley Madison, who began married life in a Quaker community, became, through events and circumstances, the indispensable companion of James Madison and, in her later years, an unforgettable member of Washington social scene. And she did it magnificently.”
In addition to her work with AHT, Elizabeth teaches at the Actor’s Center in Philadelphia and has extensive radio and television voice-over experience.
As the AHT interpreter of Dolley Madison, Elizabeth participated in the May 25 Alston-Pleasants Commemoration Program with recollections of Willis “Congress” Alston throughout his time in Washington during which he was a valued supporter of the Jefferson and Madison Administrations.
The Person Place Preservation Society, Inc., has restored and now occupies the Person Place House, an historic Franklin County landmark located on the campus of Louisburg College at 605 N. Main Street, Louisburg, N. C.
The purposes of Person Place include preserving, interpreting and promoting an appreciation of the history, culture and architecture of Franklin County and making the Person Place House available as a cultural center for the community and the region.
John Young is the President of Person Place and a member of its Board of Directors. The Honorable Lucy T. Allen, North Carolina House of Representatives, is a member of the Person Place Board of Directors and heads the Alston-Pleasants Commemoration Program Committee.
The Person Place House is located on its original site, alongside the Old Stage Road, which is now North Main Street. When viewed from the road, its southern wing, which dates from 1789, is a small Georgian structure and its larger Federal section is said to have been constructed abut 1830.
Among its early occupants was Mathew Dickenson, a Yale scholar, who, on January 1, 1805, became the first headmaster of Franklin Academy, now Louisburg College, which, dating from 1787, is the nation’s oldest chartered two-year, church-related, co-educational college.
There were at least nine owners of the Person Place House before it passed, in the early 1800s, into the hands of the Person family which continued to own the property until 1970 when it was conveyed to Louisburg College.
Throughout the year, Person Place sponsors programs of a cultural or historic nature, including a Franklin County oral history project, and has carried forward efforts to establish a Town of Louisburg local history preservation commission.
Person Place also, by special arrangements, makes the Person Place House available for parties, receptions, reunions, business meetings, and similar functions.
The Center, under the direction of Harry L. Watson, is a research arm of the University that has its main focus on the regional history of the American South.
Among other activities, the Center sponsors The Program on Public Life, which helps to inform the public agenda and nurture leadership; administers The Southern Oral History Program, which uses new technologies to create, preserve and extend the use of oral history interviews; and publishes Southern Cultures, a quarterly that provides discussions of aspects of southern life as well as promoting a broad array of significant regional studies.
For two decades, AHT, which is based in Philadelphia, has presented a variety of interactive theatrical programs in which professional actor/historians interpret people and situations from American history to contemporary audiences.
Each program is carefully researched and powerfully portrayed and each provides important insights into the drama and humor that reflect the American experience.
Among other significant undertakings, AHT recently accepted a White House commission to produce On Fire For Liberty, written and directed by AHT artistic Director William A. Sommerfield and performed by seasoned AHT interpreters.
AHT interpreters appear at the White House Visitors Center, the National Archives, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Portrait Gallery, Mount Vernon, Independence National Park and many other venues in the United States, Europe and Asia.