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Freedom Speaks

  • Spartanburg Regional History Museum 200 E St John St Spartanburg, SC, 29302 United States (map)

Slavery existed in the South until 1865, but rarely did the enslaved men and women get the opportunity to express the experience of slavery and racism from their own perspectives. “Freedom Speaks,” will be an evening of reflection and conversation on race in Spartanburg beginning with the reading of several interviews from people who were enslaved in Spartanburg. 

Commissioned and recorded by the federal government from 1936 to 1938, these interviews provide the unique opportunity to hear about slavery in Spartanburg from the men and women who experienced it. Marlanda Dekine, Rashad Gault, Cassandra Byrd, and Lindsey Stevens, members of Spoken Word Spartanburg, will read interviews from individuals enslaved in Spartanburg and present poetry based on their reactions to the interviewees’ experiences. Afterward, audience members will be invited to participate in a discussion of topics related to race and racism in Spartanburg, past and present.

Spoken Word Spartanburg aims to nurture the raw, uncut performance art of spoken word and slam poetry through performance, academic and community dialogue on social justice and equality, and workshop. The group meets at First Presbyterian Church on the first Monday of each month for “Poetry & Conversation,” to ignite conversation within the Spartanburg community on various topics related to race and racism and hosts regular open mic events and writing workshops. To find out more, visit

$5/person, $3/Students with College ID

*Due to heavy topics and harsh language parental discretion is advised.