Delany to be portrayed at Vienna Public Library

VIENNA – The History Alive! presentation portraying black Civil War soldier Martin Delany’s life will take place on Feb. 6 at 6:30 p.m. at the Vienna Public Library, said Jill Chidester with the library.

Admission to the presentation is free and the public is welcome to attend.

The History Alive! program allows people to experience the life of a historic figure through the person who is portraying that figure on stage.

The presentation is given in three parts: a monologue from the character being portrayed, a question-and-answer session by the character being portrayed, and a discussion with the presenter, Chidester said.

During the Thursday performance, Joseph Bundy of Mercer County, in southern West Virginia, will be portraying the life of Martin Delany.

Delany was a Civil War soldier, who ultimately because a recruiter for the U.S. Colored Troops, and is known for being the first black field officer when he was commissioned as a major in his division.

Delany was born in Virginia, in what is now West Virginia, on May 6, 1812. His family was forced to flee to Pennsylvania when his mother was threatened with imprisonment for allowing her children to learn to read and write, Chidester said.

In Pennsylvania, Delany was a leader in the anti-slavery movement, Chidester said. He was also a superintendent of the Underground Railroad, which helped escaped slaves avoid detection while fleeing north to freedom.

Delany co-edited an abolitionist newspaper and attended Harvard Medical College, Chidester said. Then, he joined the U.S. Colored Troops and began making history there.

The History Alive! program is provided by the West Virginia Humanities Council.