.          all rights belong to Tanis Harms, © 2012
.             refer to
www.church-skits.com

THE PRICE OF FREEDOM – written by Tanis Harms

PREMISE:     (history and truths still relevant for today)
.            Kentucky, 1859.  Jessica is the kind of
.            Christian who desires to do God’s will, but
.            struggles with all the opinions around her.
.            When escaping slaves wind up on her doorstep,
.            she reluctantly takes them in.  Over the course
.            of a few days, she realizes she has a lot
.            more in common with them than she thought.
STYLE:       drama (choral “musical” optional)
TOPIC:       equality, forgiveness
SCRIPTURE:   Galatians 3: 26-29, Colossians 3:8-14
NOTES:       for CAST, SET, PROPS, MUSIC

.            $30.00 USD to receive a DIRECTOR’S SCRIPT
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how you receive this & package description

SCRIPT:               ACT 1 – SCENE 1
.                      STAGE RIGHT

(WHITE GROUP enters and gathers to sing just the first verse.)

SONG  1  - “HAIL, COLUMBIA”

GROUP     (vs.1)  Hail Columbia, happy land!
.         Hail, ye heroes, heav'n-born band,
.         Who fought and bled in freedom's cause,
.         Who fought and bled in freedom's cause,
.         And when the storm of war was gone
.         Enjoy'd the peace your valor won.
.         Let independence be our boast,
.         Ever mindful what it cost;
.         Ever grateful for the prize,
.         Let its altar reach the skies.
.         (chorus)  Firm, united let us be,
.         Rallying round our liberty,
.         As a band of brothers joined,
.         Peace and safety we shall find.

(This scene not necessary to plot, but helps to set tone...
As GROUP finishes singing, GROUP gathers in a muddle,
getting ready for an auction.  Or if you didn’t use song,
GROUP enters ready to do business as a SLAVE DEALER ushers
in a shackled SLAVE MAN and SLAVE WOMAN who is pregnant.
DEALER pushes the SLAVE MAN forward first.  WOMAN cowers,
choked with fear and concern.)
.                                                           2
DEALER    Gentlemen, I’ll now start the bidding
.         on this here fine specimen.

MAN 1     I’ll give you 500.

DEALER    Sir, d’wishing to insult me?  I’ll take no lessen
.         2,000.  As you can see, he’s got all his teeth.
.         Fine posture.  Should be good enough for at least
.         seven more years a’ hard labor.

MAN 1     2,000, then.

MAN 2     2,025.

MAN 3     2,050.

MAN 2     2,075.

MAN 1     (thinking)  2,100.

MAN 2     2,300.

DEALER    (to MAN 1)  I knows you a’wanting him.
.         I’ve seen these’a here go for up to 3,000.

MAN 1     (carefully)  2,325.

(MAN 2 groans.)

DEALER    Dat all?...  (waiting)  Sold then.

(MAN 1 goes to extreme stage right where the DEALER
pushes SLAVE MAN to MAN 1.)

SLAVE M   (pleading)  Sir, please, could y’alsa buy
.         my wife?

MAN 1     Can’t.  Paid too much for you as it is.

SLAVE M   Please, sir!  She’s very hard a’working.

(MAN 1 glances as DEALER pushes SLAVE WOMAN forward.)

MAN 1     She’s with child now!  I don’t need that!

SLAVE M   She make a mean shoofly pie.

MAN 1     I’ve got a cook.   And I don’t need any more
.         women workers.  Now, no more about it.
.         Come on, let’s go!
.                                                           3
(SLAVE MAN looks back longingly at SLAVE WOMAN and sadly
shakes his head.  SLAVE WOMAN begins to sob fitfully.
MAN 1 yanks SLAVE MAN forward to walk across the stage
to the other side and almost runs into JESSICA who enters
from STAGE RIGHT and begins to angle towards center stage.
JESSICA gives a startled cry and jumps away to avoid
touching the SLAVE.)

MAN 1     Most sorry, ma’am.

(SLAVE WOMAN sobs loudly, calling out husband’s name, Jonah.
DEALER pulls at SLAVE WOMAN to stand up straight.)

DEALER    Now, look a’here, this’n has experience
.         as a very fine cook.

(SLAVE WOMAN sobs louder.  JESSICA takes note of this
and shakes her head, stopping to comment.)

JESSICA   My, how they can carry on, so.

MAN 2     That’s why them types usually go for pretty
.         cheap.  I can’t be bothered with that, though.

(As scene continues, JESSICA nods her understanding
and begins to walk toward the door of her house [unlit].
Scene continues as DEALER addresses MAN 2’s concern.)

DEALER    She’ll get over it.  And you saw her husband,
.         a fine specimen.  This a’here child about to
.         be born, will be a fine specimen too.  Within
.         ten year or so, you can turn ‘round and sell it.

MAN 3     I’ll give you 300, for her.

.                     ACT 1 – SCENE 2
.                       STAGE LEFT

(Not necessary to the plot, but great to set tone... SLAVES
enter and mime working while singing African folk song.)

SONG  2  - “MAYNZIWE” (beginning with, until...)

SLAVES     Maynziwe,         Maynziwe,        
ECHO          Mayn-Maynziwe,    Mayn-Maynziwe
SLAVES     Maynziwe,         Maynziwe,        
ECHO          Mayn-Maynziwe,    Mayn-Maynziwe
SLAVES     Maynziwe
ECHO          Mayn-Maynziwe

(SLAVES stop singing when MAN 1 enters and they hear -    4
SOUND EFFECT:  a few lashes of a whip -
MAN 1 coils up his whip and addresses the SLAVES.)

MAN 1      Get a’working!  You know I hate’em
.          African songs!  If you need ‘a sing,
.          it better be one of dem spiritual types!

(Reluctantly at first, SLAVES begin to sing as they go
back to “work.”  MAN 1 nods with a sullen satisfaction.
The singing becomes more impassioned as they continue.)

SONG  3  - (continue with...) “GO DOWN MOSES”

SLAVES     (singing)  When Israel was in Egypt’s land,
ALL        Let my people go.
SLAVES     Oppressed so hard they could not stand.
ALL        Let my people go.
SLAVES     And the Lord said,
.          Go down     Moses     way  down  in Egypt’s land
ECHO             Go down    Moses  way  down
SLAVES     Tell ol’ Pharoah, to let my people go.
ECHO                      Moses               let my people go.

SLAVES     O Israel was in Egypt’s land,
ALL        Let my people go.
SLAVES     And let us all in Christ be free.
ALL        Let my people go.
SLAVES     And the Lord said,
.          Go down     Moses     way  down  in Egypt’s land
ECHO             Go down    Moses  way  down
SLAVES     Tell ol’ Pharoah, to let my people go.
ECHO                      Moses               let my people go.

.                     ACT 1 – SCENE 3
.                      CENTER STAGE

(JESSICA enters and is about to sit down.  Seeing the door
to the study, she walks over and puts her hand to the doorknob,
but getting choked up, she returns and collapses into a chair,
fanning herself from the heat.  Seeing the Bible next to her
on the side table, she begins to flip through the pages.  
HUNTER saunters in boisterously through the main door.)

HUNTER    I have just come from a town counsel meeting-
.         (seeing JESSICA with her Bible)
.         Begging your pardon, Momma, didn’t mean
.         to disturb your spiritual feeding.

JESSICA   Supposing it’s more like – nibbling.  It’s a
.         mite bit hot to concentrate on anything.
(JESSICA abandons the Bible and looks up at HUNTER.)      5

HUNTER    Well, our party is falling apart.  The dismantling
.         of the Whig party a few years ago, certainly
.         didn’t help our cause.  And now Stephen Douglas
.         is stirring up the people.  And what with the
.         Kansas-Nebraska Act, this giving the rights
.         for new settlers to vote on whether or not
.         their state will be allowing slavery or not-

JESSICA   I can’t understand.  Just how in time and place will
.         those decisions effect us over here in Kentucky?

HUNTER    Shows you how little a woman can understand.
.         It means everything, Momma.  The entire balance
.         of power, for one.  And all their decisions effect
.         our economy, and our rights to do what we believe
.         is right in the eyes of God.

JESSICA   Well now, many things are done in God’s name,
.         and in His eyesight – which I’m most certain
.         would never meet with God’s approval.

HUNTER    You know, Momma – right now - I’m starving.
.         (yelling)  Cloe!  I say, where’s our tea!
.         (to JESSICA)  Why do you let her get away
.         with her insubordination?  This falls right into
.         the thinking of the north.  We as a nation
.         are slowly losing the power and the freedom
.         that we have.  My granddaddy did not die against
.         the Brits for nothing.  Do what we’re able,
.         we must hold on to our rights.  That’s exactly why
.         I am a thinking of going into politics.

(There is a knock at the main door.)

JESSICA   Campaigning and such?  But – you were always
.         intending to take over your daddy’s law practice!
.         And-ah!  (calls out)  Cloe!? Oh! I will get the door,
.         Cloe!  You stay busy with fixing our tea!

(HUNTER shakes his head with exasperation, as
JESSICA answers the door and motions for AVA to enter.)

AVA       Good afternoon, Miss Jessica.  

JESSICA   Why, Miss Ava, how nice of you to drop by
.         like this.  We’re just fixing to have our tea.

AVA       Oh, is it that time already? I do so apologize -

JESSICA   Nonsense!  Now come on in.  We’d be honored     6
.         to have you join us.  We rarely have company –
.         you know - since... (saddens a touch)  Ah...
.         (yelling)  Cloe, one more for tea!

(Clattering comes from kitchen.  JESSICA smiles apologetically
and motions AVA to sit down with her and HUNTER at the table
as CLOE rushes out with a tea tray and has to maneuver
around them.  JESSICA quickly picks up the tea to pour.)

JESSICA   Please... (to CLOE)  Cloe, the sandwiches?

(CLOE rushes back to the kitchen.  HUNTER huffs impatiently.)

JESSICA   Just leave her be, Hunter.  That girl can’t
.         do anything right without clear direction.

(CLOE rushes in to put sandwich platter onto table, nervously
tipping over a still-empty teacup.  HUNTER huffs again.  
JESSICA picks up and fills the last tea cup.  
CLOE rushes back to the kitchen.)

JESSICA   Cloe!  Just - clean up the mess you undoubtedly
.         created in the kitchen.  Hunter, would you mind?

HUNTER    (bows head)  Oh Lord, we humbly ask for Your
.         blessings to be upon our food, and upon our home
.         and country, and for wise decisions to be made
.         for the benefit of our citizens.  Amen.

(ALL raise their heads from prayer.  JESSICA holds the
sandwich plate out for AVA to help herself, then to HUNTER.)

AVA       You have done such a marvelous job at raising
.         such a fine young man, Jessica.  Especially in
.         the absence of your husband, God rest his soul.

JESSICA   He desired that Hunter be a godly man, such
.         as he was, always pursuing the will of God.

HUNTER    And that is why I have decided to enter into
.         politics.  To make sure God’s will is maintained.

JESSICA   (seeing AVA’S curiosity)  Oh well, what do
.         us woman folk know about all that, I suppose?

AVA       There‘s always been some sort of women trying to get
.         the ear of the government.  Even been some trying to
.         run for office, even though women can’t vote - yet.  

JESSICA   Such strange talk coming from a Pastor’s wife.
.                                                           7
HUNTER    I am shocked, naturally.  Women should never be
.         above men.  (to AVA)  And you, more than anyone,
.         should know their place!

JESSICA   (sighing)  Yes-yes.  Now let us abstain from
.         any more discussion on the suffragette movement.
.         As you see, Hunter, here, gets all up in a tizzy.

HUNTER    Hang it all, Momma, tizzies are for women.

(CLOE enters with a tray of desserts. AVA smiles at CLOE.)

AVA       (smiling)  These sandwiches are quite delicious.

(This discussion is interrupted by an outside disturbance.
MEN start yelling like they’ve just hunted down and captured
a runway slave, mingled in with the sounds of whipping
and crying out.  JESSICA and AVA cringe with wide-open eyes.
CLOE freezes in place, afraid to look at anybody directly.
HUNTER throws down his napkin and exits.)

HUNTER    If you’ll excuse me, I’m going see what this
.         upheaval’s all about.

AVA       It really is a shame.

JESSICA   I apologize.  Interruptions at tea time
.         are such a nuisance.

AVA       I was referring to the brutality shown to slaves.

JESSICA   Well, of course, I do abhor violence, even to
.         animals.  (notices CLOE still just standing there)
.         Cloe, why are you just standing about?
.         Perhaps our teacups need some refreshing.

(CLOE quickly puts the dessert tray down.  Her nervous hands
cause the teapot to clatter as she tries to pour.)

JESSICA   Cloe-child!  What is the matter with you?

CLOE      S-sorry, missus.

AVA       (to CLOE)  It’s okay, dear.  Here, I’ll take over.

(CLOE grabs the sandwich tray with a quick curtsy and
dashes out.  The sounds from outside now subside.)

JESSICA   I can’t have my guests serving themselves.

AVA       She’s clearly rattled by what just occurred.      9

JESSICA   Such an untimely interruption.  And right
.         near our property like that.  But that
.         should be no excuse for her laziness-

AVA       Really, this is fine.  I can take care of myself.

JESSICA   I swear, that girl can be so useless sometimes.
.         It just proves that those people are incapable
.         of doing anything for themselves.  They truly
.         need our charity and instruction.  Don’t even know
.         why they bother to escape.  How do they even
.         think they are going to survive on their own?
.         (noticing AVA)  Are you one to spoil your slaves?

AVA       Oh, we don’t have any.

JESSICA   How ever do you get anything done?

AVA       We divide up the chores.  The children help out.
.         And speaking of helping out –I was hoping - that
.         you might organize a church luncheon this Sunday.

JESSICA   Why, I’d be honored.  Since my husband’s passing,
.         I find myself with some extra time on my hands.
.         Is there any occasion behind it?

AVA       We’re having a guest speaker deliver the sermon.
.         Pastor Robertson, all the way from Ohio.  

JESSICA   Interesting. Those ideas that come from the north.

AVA       Interesting – can be good...  But –
.         we must always remain open to the truth –

JESSICA   Hm.  As long as it’s supported by the Good Book.

.                      ACT 1 – SCENE 4
.                        STAGE RIGHT

(HUNTER among them, GROUP gathers to worship, standing in rows.
PASTOR GORDON conducts GROUP, while still facing the audience.)

SONG  4  - “AMAZING GRACE”

GROUP     (vs.1)  Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
.         That saved a wretch like me.
.         I once was lost but now am found,
.         Was blind, but now I see.

(JESSICA and AVA slip into a “pew” during the singing.     9
PASTOR GORDON then addresses his little congregation.)

PASTOR G  Good morning, church.  Today we’re honored to have
.         Pastor Henry Robertson to deliver our message.
.         Please, give him our wholehearted Southern welcome.

(Congregation clap politely as PASTOR GORDON steps aside
and PASTOR ROBERTSON goes forward.  During the message,
PEOPLE nod and shout out “AMEN” at appropriate times.     [*] )

PASTOR R  Amazing grace!  Grace - which was purchased for us
.         by Christ, who offered up His life for us. It took
.         His death - to buy our freedom from our sins.   [*]
.         Amazing grace!  JUST as our soldiers have graciously
.         died for the citizens of these States.   It took many
.         deaths to secure our freedom from the Britains. [*]
.         Amazing grace!  A declaration of independence.  
.         We hold these Truths to be self-evident,
.         that all men are created equal, that they
.         are endowed, by their CREATOR, with certain
.         unalienable rights, that among these are life,
.         liberty, and the pursuit of happiness!—         [*]

(Now the PEOPLE begin to fall quiet.  Some become offended.)

PASTOR R  In Galatians (3:26-28) we read, “For ye are all
.         the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus...
.         There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither
.         SLAVE nor free, there is neither male nor FEMALE:
.         for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
.         God makes no distinction.

(Offended, MAN 1, MAN 2 and WOMAN 2 get up to leave.)

PASTOR R  The song “Amazing Grace” was written by a former
.         slave trader, John Newton, who said, “I was once
.         an active instrument in a business at which
.         my heart now shutters.”  His remorse was great-

(HUNTER grabs JESSICA’S arm to pull her out.  PASTOR R mimes
preaching as they hold the conversation a bit to the side.)

JESSICA   Hunter, you go on now, but I have to stay...
.         (seeing HUNTER’S appalled expression, explains...)
.         I gave my word that I would oversee this luncheon.

HUNTER    Then you can see to it - that this preacher-man
.         leaves just as soon as he’s a finished eating –
.         and see to it that they never invite him back.

(HUNTER storms off as JESSICA returns to her spot,        10
as MOST EVERYONE bows in prayer.)

PASTOR R  Let us close in prayer.  Oh Lord, bless our country
.         with Your grace.  May we sincerely seek Your truths
.         and practice them.  Give us the strength and courage
.         to do so.  I sincerely pray that we might
.         build together – not a nation set upon protecting
.         selfish individual rights – but set upon unselfish
.         love and grace – to truly build a united States.
.         In this Lord we pray, Amen.

PEOPLE    (muttering cautiously at varying degrees)  Amen.

(MORE PEOPLE exit from the group, leaving very few,
which includes: JESSICA, AVA, PASTOR GORDON,
PASTOR ROBERTSON, LANDON, DR.PARKER, ELIZABETH, MAN 4.)

AVA       (to JESSICA)  You stayed!

JESSICA   (to AVA)  Looks like there will be no shortage
.         of food for our luncheon.

(DOCTOR PARKER and ELIZABETH step up and nod.
PASTOR GORDON and PASTOR ROBERTSON join the group,
followed by LANDON.  DOCTOR PARKER gives hearty handshakes
to all them men.)

DR. P     Wonderful timely message, Pastor Robertson.
.         And Pastor Landon, welcome.  I wish both of you
.         every success in your... (cryptically)
.         recruitment venture for your seminary.

MAN 4     (joins in)  Ha! Is that what you’re calling this?
.         And just what’s the name of this seminary?

PASTOR R  Lane Theological Seminary, in Cincinnati Ohio.
.         We are open to educating ANYONE, you understand?

DOCTOR P  And how is Pastor Lyman Beecher doing?
.         Is he still the seminary’s president?

PASTOR R  He’s doing well, and retired - sitting back
.         to enjoy the successes of all his children.

LANDON    One of his daughters just published a novel
.         that has been peeking the interests of the nation.

MAN 4     That be the one called “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”?
.         I’ve heard of it.  Sounds like this woman’s
.         trying to affect politics through her writing.
.                                                         11
LANDON    Besides being a fine Christian woman,
.         Harriet Beecher Stowe is a fine novelist!
.         She was actually trying to avoid the entire topic
.         of slavery - until the government dared to put
.         the Fugitive Slave Law into effect.
.         She was infuriated that the government dare
.         infringe upon her rights to help out a neighbor.

MAN 4     You mean - help a slave to escape.
.         What about justice for the owners?  
.         They pay good money for their slaves?  Now,
.         I’m just trying to see it from both sides.

PASTOR R  We certainly do need to be praying that
.         both sides desire to see things – from both sides.
.         But more importantly - we need to be
.         seeing things from God’s eyes.

JESSICA   So you consider doing all THIS as serving God?

PASTOR R  Most certainly.  What are you willing to do
.         to serve God?

PASTOR G  Miss Jessica, we were hoping you would
.         use your home as a safe house.  
.         For slaves trying to make their way north.
.         Your house is right on the edge of town-

JESSICA   I am a law-abiding citizen.  Are you asking me
.         to give aid to escaping slaves-

PASTOR R  We are to obey our government as unto the Lord.
.         If our laws go against what God intends –
.         then we need to be obedient to God first.

JESSICA   (finding a way out)  But, why, just the other day,
.         they hunted down a slave, right next to my house.
.         Just ask Ava, here.  So you see, my house
.         is not exactly as safe as one might think.

LANDON    There are certain things to do to stay safe.
.         The Quakers just north of here, will place candles
.         in their windows to signify they are safe houses.
.         When slaves see lights in the window, they know
.         they can go there to be assisted in their efforts.

JESSICA   But, my son... Ava, you know my son.  You saw him.
.         He’d never approve, I’m most certain!
.         And I’m truly sorry, I – I still do not know
.         where I, myself, stand on this particular issue.
.                                                          12
PASTOR G  You believe that God approves of slavery?

JESSICA   The Bible gives instructions to slaves
.         on how to behave properly, so -
.         I just assume that means it’s acceptable.  However
.         after your fine message this morning, there are
.         a few points to ponder, most certainly.

MAN 4     It’s a hopeless situation.  The economy would
.         suffer greatly if plantations should suddenly
.         have to pay their laborers.

PASTOR G  And that makes it right?

MAN 4     I am merely saying, it is a situation.

JESSICA   Certainly food for thought.  
.         And now, what say you to some food for the body?
.         Lunch is waiting.

.                        ACT 1 – SCENE 5
.                          STAGE LEFT

(SLAVES sing with spiritual style.  SOMEONE takes the lead,
the others back them up with echoes.)

SONG  5  - “AMAZING GRACE”

SOLO      Ah...        Ah...      Amazing.
ECHO      Amazing grace! Amazing, Amazing! Grace! Amazing!
SOLO      Amazing grace.
ECHO                  Amazing!  Grace!
SOLO      How Lord, how sweet the, the sound.
ECHO                                   How sweet the sound!
SOLO      That, oh, that saved,
ECHO                        That saved a wretch!
SOLO      Ah... Saved a wretch,
ECHO                       That saved a wretch!
SOLO      Like,           like me.  Ah...
ECHO          Saved a wretch!  Saved a wretch like me!
SOLO      I once,           Lord, I was lost
ECHO      Lord, I was lost!                Lord I was!
SOLO      But now, I want you to know that I am found.
ECHO            But now!                Oh Lord! I’m found!
SOLO      Was blind,               but,
ECHO             Lord, I was blind!   But now!
SOLO      but,     Oh, glory, I...
ECHO        But now!
ALL       I thank the Lord I see.

.                         CENTER STAGE                     13

(Luggage sits by the door.  HUNTER is pacing the floor and
pounces on JESSICA as soon as she enters by the main doors.)

HUNTER    Hope that preacher-man has moved on!
.         You know what I found when I came home?
.         Cloe - just lounging on the settee.  

JESSICA   It is a day of rest.  I suppose

HUNTER    I have a good mind to send her off
.         to a whipping house.  Teach her to mind!

JESSICA   Hunter, you know I don’t go for that.  I do believe
.         there is a line that should never be crossed.

HUNTER    None-the-less, with traveling pastors such as these,
.         wandering about, trying to persuade people to release
.         the slaves, we fear that Abraham Lincoln will get in.

JESSICA   I hear he’s a Kentucky man.

HUNTER    Understand, he is a sympathizer to the slave.

(HUNTER marches up to the study door and pauses at the plea.)

JESSICA   You’re not going into your daddy’s study!

HUNTER    Enough’s enough, Momma.  You don’t ever need to,
.         but I need some books from in there.

(HUNTER opens the door and marches up to the desk
to grab two books.  Coming out, he closes the door again.
Meanwhile, JESSICA notices the luggage at the door.)

HUNTER    (puts books in bag)  As I’ve already told you,
.         I’ve decided to go on the campaign trail.
.         They need lawyers who can present cases.  And
.         we were just told that a debate’s been scheduled,
.         so we must leave now in order to make it on time.

JESSICA   Mind you be careful.  When will you return?

HUNTER    I reckon, not until we feel that places like
.         Missouri will take our side in the vote.
.         Bye Momma - love you.  You keep the household
.         running as it should?  Don’t want any misgivings.

(HUNTER lightly hugs JESSICA before leaving.)

.                       ACT 1 – SCENE 6                     14
.                         STAGE RIGHT

(GROUP sings the folk song with gusto.)

SONG  6  - “ARKANSAS TRAVELER”

GROUP     (singing)  I traveled out in Arkansas one day
.         On a freight that took my breath away
.         It went so slow the whole thing made me smile
.         It took a month and seven days to run about a mile

.         I never want to take that trip again
.         Everything that crawled could beat that train
.         A snail that started with us in a race
.         It beat us by about three weeks
.         and easily won first place

.                         CENTER STAGE

(JESSICA wanders the room restlessly, holding her Bible.
Going over to the lantern, she studies the scriptures very
closely, then continues pacing again.  She is startled
when CLOE rushes into the room carrying another lantern.)

CLOE      Missus!  There’s a noise.  Did y’hear it?
.         Did y’hear?  Jist outside d’house, now.

JESSICA   More than likely a raccoon-

(JESSICA takes the lantern from the side table and peers out
a “window” while looking out into the congregation.  She
jumps at a thud noise, closer to the window by the door.)

CLOE      That ain’t no raccoon, missus.

JESSICA   I heard it.

(JESSICA takes the lantern over to a side window to peer out
carefully.  CLOE does the same at the window near the door.)

CLOE      I sees a wagon wit – veg-ables, missus.

JESSICA   At this time of night?

(At the sound of light knocking at the door, JESSICA and
CLOE study each other, wondering if they should answer.  
Knocking is heard again.  JESSICA walks over to the door.)

JESSICA   Who’s there, please?
.                                                         15
NOAH      (voice)  My name’s Noah, ma’am.  I was told
.         to go to a house on the edge of town –

JESSICA   There are several houses by that description.

NOAH      Yes ma’am, but yours being the only one with
.         lights in the windows.  I have a delivery for you.

(JESSICA opens the door and NOAH steps in.)

JESSICA   From my son?

NOAH      No, no I reckon not, ma’am, but it’s most urgent.

(JESSICA peers outside the door while NOAH quickly closes
the drapes to the window beside the door.  CLOE has the mind
to do this at the other window/s.)

JESSICA   Are those PEOPLE crawling out of your vegetables?

NOAH      Ah, yes ma’am.  Those would be “passengers”
.         if you get my drift.

(JACKSON enters propping up DALIA as she struggles to walk.
AJANI follows shyly behind, carrying a tiny bundle.
NOAH quickly shuts the door behind them.)

JESSICA   Oh, no, no, they – they can’t stay here.

(NOAH puts a calming hand out to the worried JACKSON.)

NOAH      Ma’am, we have no choice, understand, the woman’s
.         very sick.  She simply can’t continue in this
.         condition.  Please, you need to take ‘em in-

JACKSON   –Jist ‘til she kin git better, ma’am.

NOAH      I will arrange for a hearse to come by –

JESSICA   A hearse?  You expecting her to live– or to die?

NOAH      There’ll be a gentleman called Andrew, a coming by
.         transporting coffins and bodies.  We find that
.         hiding the black folk in amongst such, well,
.         people usually being scared enough not to be
.         searching through these sorts of things.

JESSICA   I see.

JACKSON   Thank you, kindly.
.                                                         16
JESSICA   (sternly)  It’s just a good thing my son
.         isn’t here right now.  He’d never go for this.

(NOAH turns to shake hands with JACKSON, nods to DALIA,
and takes the face of AJANI into his hands.)

NOAH      You be good, son.  Take good care of your mammy.

(NOAH quickly leaves.  JACKSON holds out a hand to JESSICA
to shake.)

JACKSON   We greatly thank you for your kindness.

(JESSICA, appalled at the affection just demonstrated,
now shies away from the hand.  CLOE finally steps forward.)

CLOE      Where do we put ‘em, missus?

JESSICA   Oh, ah, ahhh, I can’t think of where-

CLOE      How about in da study –

JESSICA   No!  (but becomes paralyzed trying to think)

CLOE      Where else, den, ma’am?  If we sneak ‘em outside
.         to da shed, day could be seen by somebody.
.         We’d be in so much troubles... (decides quickly)
.         Got to be da study, missus.  Quick like,
.         come dis way, den.

(CLOE leads JACKSON, DALIA and AJANI into the study.
JACKSON gently helps DALIA to lie down on the floor.)

CLOE      I’ll be getting you some spare blankets,
.         dats we all have.  And some bread as you must a
.         all be hungry.  And mighten you need to relieve
.         yourself - I gits you a chamber pot.  
.         Missus, I takes the spare chamber pot now.  
.         They can’t be a running to the outhouse now.  
.         Someone kin just a see ‘em dat way.

JACKSON   Could we be a bother for some water, too?

CLOE      Yes ‘em, I’ll gets some water.
.         (to JESSICA)  You be a’right, missus.
.         Don’t you worry none.

JACKSON   This all very wonderful, ma’am, we thank you.
.         Very much.  Very much, indeed.

JESSICA   Yes-yes, you’re welcome.  I – I will come -     17
.         check on you in the morning.

(CLOE ushers JESSICA out of the study entrance where
she has been frozen.  JESSICA is slightly amazed at CLOE.)

CLOE      You get some rest now, missus.  
.         I’s a take keer of everything.

JESSICA   (still in shock)  Thank you, Cloe.

CLOE      Ah-huh.

(CLOE balks as she has never been thanked by JESSICA.)

.                     ACT 2 – SCENE 1
.                       STAGE RIGHT

(GROUP stands in their “pew” lines.  GORDON conducts.)

SONG  7  -  “BLEST BE THE TIE THAT BINDS”

GROUP     (vs.1) Blest be the tie that binds
.         Our hearts in Christian love;
.         The fellowship of kindred minds
.         Is like to that above.
.         (vs.2) Before our Father’s throne
.         We pour our ardent prayers;
.         Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
.         Our comforts and our cares.

PASTOR G  So as we go from here, let us keep in mind,
.         Galatians 5:14 which says, “For all the law
.         is fulfilled in one word, even in this;
.         Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
.         So who is our neighbor?  The British?
.         They have learned a lesson in humility.
.           (PEOPLE chuckle and nudge each other)
.         The Italian?
.           (PEOPLE frown a bit at this one)
.         Or does God mean the entire world?
.           (PEOPLE sit very still and silent, skeptical)
.         Let us allow God to guide us in this matter.
.         May it be God who settles this matter
.         in our hearts, and this matter that presses
.         down on us as a nation.  How can we extend
.         this good will to those around the world
.         if we cannot extend this to the very one
.         that we find right next to us?...
.         May you all have a blessed week.

(A FEW utter “amen” as they begin to mingle or leave.)  18

MAN 1     (approaching)  Pastor, if I didn’t know better,
.         I’d think you were trying to sneak in
.         some of that northern philosophy, right there.

(PASTOR GORDON chuckles cheerfully while shaking hands
with MAN 1.  MAN 3 and his WIFE approach JESSICA.)

MAN 3     Miss Jessica.  I hear your son has gone
.         on the campaign trail with a few of our men.

WIFE      You must be so very proud.

(JESSICA smiles meekly as the couple moves on.  
AVA sees JESSICA’S silent fret and approaches, cautious that
no one else hears, but WIFE lurks close by to listen in.)

AVA       Are you all right, Miss Jessica?

JESSICA   I don’t know.  I don’t know what to do.
.         You know...
.            (looks gravely for understanding)
.         I simply had no choice.  
.         Just came out of nowhere.
.         Well, there’s – kind of - an illness, and -
.         I’d like it to be gone – as soon as possible.  

(AVA nods and looks around for DR.PARKER and waves him over.
WIFE tries to get closer to the conversation.)

AVA       Dr. Parker, Miss Jessica is talking about some
.         illness – being taken on.  She should be at home –
.         with this issue - should she not?
.         Before things go terribly wrong?

WIFE      (suspiciously)  Miss Jessica, I thought your
.         family doctor was Doctor Stevenson?

DR. P     Oh, I’m sure he’ll understand, naturally,
.         as this matter requires immediate attention.
.         (to JESSICA)  You get to your house right away.
.         I’ll be pretty much right behind you.  Go on, then.

AVA       And we shall be praying for full recovery,
.         Jessica.  We can’t have one of our own, sick,
.         now can we?

(WIFE is very suspicious but shrugs it off
and joins MAN 3.)

.                      ACT 2 – SCENE 2                   19
.                         STAGE LEFT

(SLAVES sing in a spiritual style.)

SONG  8  - “I HEARD THE VOICE OF JESUS SAY”

SLAVES   (vs.1)  I heard the voice of Jesus say,
.        “Come unto Me and rest;
.        Lay down you weary one,
.        Lay down your head upon My breast.”
.        I came to Jesus as I was,
.        Wear, and worn, and sad;
.        I found in Him a resting place,
.        And He has made me glad.

.                        CENTER STAGE

(JACKSON joins in with the group, then ends singing the tag.)

JACKSON  (continuing)  I found in Him a resting place,
.        And He has made me glad.

(JESSICA enters at the front door to hear JACKSON singing.
CLOE lounges on the settee and bolts up at seeing JESSICA.)

JESSICA   Church service was a little shorter than usual.

CLOE      I git the lunch ready now, missus.

(JACKSON stops singing.  JESSICA wonders at the silence.
Cautiously she approaches the study door, wondering if
she should enter.  She lightly taps at door and opens it.)

JACKSON   Yes, ma’am?

JESSICA   I heard you singing.

JACKSON   I apologize.  I should really be mo’ quiet-like.

JESSICA   (totally amazed and confused)
.         Are you – are you a believer?

JACKSON   Yes, ma’am.  For many years now.  I knowed
.         a slave who could read and had his-self  Bible.
.         Well, not the whole thing, just the New Testament,
.         like.  (reciting)  “It was for freedom that Christ
.         set us free; therefore keep standing firm and
.         do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”

JESSICA   The New Testament tells the slave to            20
.         “be obedient to them that are your masters -
.         with fear and trembling, as unto Christ.”

JACKSON   Yes’m.  Work as unto the Lord.

JESSICA   But you escaped.  You’re a running away,
.         and so, you’re not in obedience.

JACKSON   No ma’am.  I’d been set free by my last mas’r.  
.         So I went north to earn up ‘nough money
.         to buy my wife and child out of slavery.

JESSICA   Then, you’re all free?  
.         So why’re you all sneaking around like this?

JACKSON   Well, Ma’am, I still sees danger.  
.         Dere’s slave hunters out a looking for any negro –
.         free or not – and day’s jist take ‘em and
.         sell ‘em - or hang ‘em if day’s angry enough.

JESSICA   Ah, um, let me not interrupt your time of worship.
.         I’ll see how Cloe is getting on with lunch.
.         (starts to go)  Did you want to borrow my Bible?

JACKSON   Oh, I can’t read, ma’am.

JESSICA   How do you know these scriptures?

JACKSON   I just hear’s, and ‘members ‘em.

JESSICA   You must have an excellent memory.  Well...  

(JESSICA stands there not knowing what else to say
when there’s a knock at the door.  She leaves abruptly,
shutting the door behind her.)

JESSICA   I’ll answer the door, Cloe.  (answering)

(DOCTOR PARKER enters carrying his kit.)

DR. P     Miss Jessica, how are you feeling?

JESSICA   Just fine, but you do understand though that-

(CLOE bursts into the room carrying a tray of food, freezes,
then quickly curtsies at the sight of DOCTOR PARKER.)

DR. P     Hello there, ma’am, how are you feeling?

CLOE      (tongue-tied)  I-I be fine, mas’r.
.                                                         21
DR. P     You sure now?  Then, could you be a dear,
.         and fix up some tea?
.         (to JESSICA)  Now, indeed, I caught your drift.
.         If you could just show me where they’re at.

(CLOE dashes back into the kitchen still carrying the tray.
JESSICA leads DOCTOR PARKER into the study, but remains
standing at the doorway to watch.  DOCTOR PARKER finds
JACKSON and AJANI clutching each other in prayer near
DALIA, who now lies on a blanket.  DR.PAKRER puts out a
calming hand and places his kit onto the desk, looking around.)

DR. P     No need to be alarmed.  I’m a doctor.
.         Miss Jessica told me there’d be some illness here.
.            (touching the face and forehead of AJANI)
.         How are you, there, son?  You feeling okay?
.            (AJANI nods shyly.)
.         Good.  Mighty good.  Then we ask your daddy, here.

JACKSON   I feel better once you see to my wife.

(JACKSON moves away as DR.PARKER takes his place beside DALIA.  
AJANI shows interest and moves as close as he dares.
DR.PARKER picks up DALIA’S wrist and feels her pulse, always
speaking like he is teaching AJANI, who laps up every word.)

DR. P     Her heartbeat’s very slow.  (picks up an eyelid)
.         Eyes and skin have a yellowish tint.  It can’t be.
.            (pulls her chin down to look into mouth)  
.         See here, a white coating on the tongue, right in
.         the middle, complete with a swollen red border.
.         This looks like the yellow fever.

JESSICA   Yellow fever!  Why? Is there another outbreak?

(AJANI has wandered over to the desk to look at the kit.)

DR. P     Not that I’m aware.  But we’ll just exercise the
.         necessary precautions.  Some suspect that insects
.         may be the culprits who spread the disease.  
.         But, we just don’t know enough about that yet.
.         Well now, let me see what to give her.

(DR.PARKER sees AJANI by his kit, and pauses.)

JACKSON   (worried)  Ajani, you mustn’t mess wit dat.

DR. P     Ajani?  That’s his name.  It’s a mighty fine name.
.         Say Ajani, you kin help now by very carefully
.         bringing me that kit.  See here, now...
.                                                           22
(AJANI carefully brings the kit to DR.PARKER, then watches.
DR.PARKER opens the kit and motions to different vials.)

DR. P     We have learned a few things from the Europeans,
.         as well as the natives.

JESSICA   My doctor would be opposed to such.  
.         Why aren’t you using the traditional medicine?
.         While my husband suffered with heart issues,
.         he was prescribed calomel.

DR. P     From my experience, anyone who uses calomel – dies.
.            (noticing JESSICA’S concern)
.         I believe more research ought to be done on that.

JACKSON   You won’t use it on her, then?

(JESSICA quietly dabs her eyes as DOCTOR PARKER continues.)

DR. P     I know Homeopathy is frowned upon in most circles.
.         But I practice what seems to work.  There are
.         many camps.  Some will only look at the scientific,
.         and others only at the spirituality.
.         I have seen some of these medicines work,
.         as well as the power of prayer.

JACKSON   Prayer does not always cure, but does always help.

DR. P     Amen, brother.  Amen.  Now - back to business.

(DOCTOR PARKER shows the different vials to AJANI.)

DR. P     See here, Ajani, there’s a whole lot of botanical
.         concoctions to use for different symptoms.
.         Aromatics are used as a diffusible stimulant,
.         healing the stomach and body.  
.         Balsamic is a mild healing stimulant.
.         We have Cephalic to cure the head ache.  

JESSICA   Why do you bother? What could he possibly understand?

DR. P     Continuing on-  Chologogue to purge the bile.
.         This here’s Febrifuge, to cure fevers.
.            (AJANI gives a quick hopeful glance at DR.PARKER)
.         Ah, see, this a’here boy’s highly intelligent.
.         So, THIS with a Restorative.  Well, we’re not
.         really sure if we are treating the actual disease,
.         or just the symptoms, but at least we can get
.         your momma to feel better so she can rest –
.         and THEN get better, is my theory.
.                                                        23
(DR.PARKER sees CLOE entering with the tea tray.)

DR. P     Just in time.  Thank you, dear.  Now, every half
.         hour, you need to put in a touch of this a’here
.         concoction into some tea and get her to drink it.

(DR. PARKER pours then mixes a tiny bit of the powders
into the teacup then adds the tea.  Stirring it, he looks
at CLOE and JACKSON to make sure they’re watching, then
hands the cup to JACKSON who helps DALIA drink from it.
Then DR.PARKER packs up his kit and gives
CLOE the two vials to bring to the kitchen.)

DR. P     (to AJANI)  Now, young man, do you want to help
.         your momma get better?  (AJANI nods)
.         When your daddy needs some time to rest, it would
.         be most helpful if you’d take a wet cloth to dab
.         her forehead.  This’ll help cool her down some.
.         And, as dehydration is most dangerous at this here
.         stage, also get her to drink plenty of water,
.         and eat mixed and varied foods.  And get her
.         to move around just a bit - won’t do her any harm.

JESSICA   You sure about that?  Not complete bedrest?  

DR. P     From what I’ve observed, when there’s an entire
.         family, all sick, it’s the ailing woman who rushes
.         to the aid of her helpless husband and
.         her precious children that recovers the fastest.

JESSICA   That there’s most interesting.

JACKSON   Will she be okay?

DR. P     (gently)  Just make sure you say your prayers.

(JACKSON gets up to follow DOCTOR PARKER, but stops at the
study’s doorway.  JESSICA sees DOCTOR PARKER to the door.)

JESSICA   Ah, what do I owe you?

DR. P     Nothing at all, Miss Jessica.  Consider this
.         my contribution to the cause.

(As DOCTOR PARKER exits, JESSICA breaks down crying.
JACKSON stares helplessly, wondering if he should do anything.  
JESSICA turns and sees JACKSON’S intent gaze.)

JACKSON   Ah... I fix things, ma’am.

JESSICA   Pardon?                                         24

JACKSON   I kin fix anything.  Please, ma’am,
.         I wish to earn our keep.

JESSICA   Oh, I see.  Yes, I suppose I can find a few
.         things around here to be fixed, that’s for sure.
.         Thank you – ah – sorry, I don’t even know
.         your names.  Except for... Ajani?

JACKSON   Yes’m.  My name’s Jackson, and my wife’s Dalia.

JESSICA   Dalia?  It’s a lovely name.  Well ah,
.         I know there are several people at our church
.         already praying for – Dalia’s full recovery.

(JESSICA falls into a chair and breaks down crying again.
CLOE comes from the kitchen with a bowl of water and a rag.
Seeing JESSICA, CLOE stops to wonder then looks at JACKSON.
JACKSON quickly shrugs helplessly.)

CLOE      Missus, please, she be bettah.  They be moving on.

JESSICA   Oh, it’s not – that.  I’m just a wondering –
.         we had all been praying for a full recovery -
.         what if we had a different doctor for when
.         my husband was sick?  Maybe with different
.         medicines – and a different approach to things –

(JESSICA sobs again.  CLOE and JACKSON look at each other
with some understanding now.)

JACKSON   You was a praying, and I know’d God a hear’d you.
.         These things are always in the Lord God’s hands.
.         It be a good ‘n blessed thing for your husband –
.         to go be with our Lord up there in paradise.
.         For us down here, sometimes, God allows these
.         things to happen – so we learn to rest on Him mo’.
.         Sometimes – it’s so we’d be a stronger witness
.         for our Lord who gives us da strength.

(JESSICA nods to JACKSON, then looks at CLOE and the tray.
CLOE remembers her task and brings the tray to JACKSON.)

JACKSON   Thank you.  Ma’am, I hope you feels bettah now.
.         And if you thinks of anything - I can fix it.

(JACKSON nods a bow, returns to the study and shuts
the door.  JESSICA looks at CLOE.)

JESSICA   If you can think of anything to be fixed -
,                                                         25
CLOE      Oh, I kin think of things.  (calling out)
.         I’ll empty da chamber pot, and then find
.         sum-thing for him to be a fixing!

JESSICA   I do declare, Cloe, I didn’t realize you
.         were so clever.  You’ve been a knowing just
.         what to do without any instruction ever since...
.         (seeing CLOE’S odd look)  I suppose that sounded
.         very stupid.  I - meant it as a compliment.

CLOE      (unsure)  Ah-huh, thank you, missus.

.                        ACT 2 – SCENE 3
.                          STAGE RIGHT

(GROUP of MEN gather to sing the American folk song.
You could have a few people square dance.)

SONG  9  - “DIXIE” (American penny whistle)

GROUP     Oh, I wish I was in the land of cotton,
.         Old times there are not forgotten,
.         Look away, look away, look away Dixie Land.
.         There’s a lot of working in the dirt and gravel,
.         To Dixie's Land I'm bound to travel,
.         Look away! Look away! Look away!  Dixie Land

.         (Chr) Then I wish I was in Dixie, Hooray! Hooray!
.         In Dixie Land I'll take my stand
.         to live and die in Dixie.
.         Away, away, away down south in Dixie.
.         Away, away, away down south in Dixie

.                          CENTER STAGE

(CLOE carries a chair to the study door when there is
pounding at the door.  Not knowing what to do, she sets the
chair down in front of the door and makes sure it is closed.
The pounding persists and JESSICA comes out fretting.
Meanwhile in the darkened study, the THREE quickly
put all blankets into the fireplace then hide inside.)

JESSICA   What is going on here?  Who is it?

CLOE      I’s not sure, missus.

JESSICA   Ah, (calling out)  Who’s there, please?

WILLIAM   (voice)  William Berrit, ma’am.  Let me in.

JESSICA   I – I don’t know who you are.                   26

WILLIAM   Let me in, or I will break down this door.
.         Sure as you’re born, I’ll do it.

(JESSICA looks at CLOE nervously, who shrugs.)

JESSICA   What do we do?

(WILLIAM begins to throw his body weight against the door.
JESSICA steps toward the study, but CLOE shakes her head,
then they both go to unlock the main door.)

JESSICA   Hold back, sir, we’ll be opening the door.

WILLIAM   (pushes his way in)  On the lookout for runaways.

JESSICA   Runaways?

WILLIAM   Runaway slaves, ma’am.

JESSICA   We - don’t have any of THOSE here.

WILLIAM   We just caught a hearse driver on the way up this
.         road.  We’ve been suspecting him for some time.
.         I realize there’re people who die, but they don’t
.         always have to be lugged around from one place to
.         another.  And around these here parts people just
.         seem to be a falling off a’ turnip trucks.

JESSICA   Turnip trucks?

WILLIAM   They hide themselves in wagons pulling vegetables.

(While WILLIAM goes into the kitchen, there is a sneeze
from the study.  WILLIAM comes out to looks at JESSICA
with suspicion.  JESSICA feigns a weak coughing fit.
WILLIAM walks toward the study door and looks at the chair.)

WILLIAM   What’s this doing here?

JESSICA   Oh, that um, ah, just leads to my late husband’s
.         study.  I – I don’t go in there ever.  I don’t
.         like anybody going in there, you understand.

(WILLIAM gruffly moves the chair and swoops into the study.
Worried, JESSICA and CLOE expect the worst.  
As WILLIAM  glances around, not seeing anybody,
JESSICA cautiously  peeks into the doorway.)

WILLIAM   Sure smells funny in here.
.                                                         27
JESSICA   As I said, my husband just died –

WILLIAM   In here?

JESSICA   This is where I’d find him.

WILLIAM   (approaches JESSICA)  So you’re available, then?

JESSICA   (backing away)  Pardon?  Oh, ah, well – no –

WILLIAM   Why are you so nervous?

CLOE      Missus, it’s time ta make da medicine.

WILLIAM   (stops)  Medicine for what?

CLOE      Doctor jist here.  As’ Missus suspect,
.         it be da Yella Fever.  (nods, rushing to wet
.           a rag to pat JESSICA’S forehead)

JESSICA   I – I need to sit – sit down, for a spell.

WILLIAM   (backing away)  Well, why didn’t you say so
.         in the first place you got Yellow Fever?

JESSICA   I-I apologize.  Please, you can search the rest
.         of the house, if need be, and then, if you
.         don’t mind, seeing yourself out.  (coughs again)

WILLIAM   I’ve seen enough.  I’ll be looking
.         in your sheds, though.

(WILLIAM storms outside.  JESSICA and CLOE sigh cautiously.
JESSICA takes the rag from CLOE’S hands to dab her
forehead with more fervency, then looks at CLOE intently.)

JESSICA   That was mighty close.

CLOE      I didn’t lie, missus.

JESSICA   Nor did I.

CLOE      Didn’t accuse you of sich either, missus.

JESSICA   That’s right.  Every bit was the truth, just,
.         not in exact order.  And THEY (motions to study)
.         all ARE legitimately free.

CLOE      He wouldn’t’a never believed.

JESSICA   I suspected so.  Now, let’s go see             28
.         whatever did happen to them.  

(As JESSICA and CLOE cautiously enter the study and call out,
JACKSON and AJANI peek out from the fireplace, then help
DALIA out with the blankets to remake the “bed” for her.)

JESSICA    Jackson?-Jackson! The man’s gone.
.          It’s safe now.  (amused)
.          You all fit inside that fireplace?

JACKSON    It’s a big ‘nough fireplace, ma’am.

JESSICA    I reckon it is.  This here used to be
.          the kitchen.  When we built on the extra rooms,
.          we changed some things around some.
.             (lightening up as she tells the story)
.          When my husband claimed this to be his study,
.          he immediately changed the front of the fireplace
.          to look smaller than it is.  Said he didn’t much
.          like the look of it, the way it was so big and all.
.          Said it looked like it would one day
.          just swallow him up whole.

CLOE       (very seriously)  Well, certainly swallowed
.          up SOMEONE now, and that’s fo’ sure ‘nough.

(They all are silent for a moment, then break out into
nervous laughter, but quickly stifle their giggles.)

.                        ACT 2 – SCENE 4
.                          STAGE RIGHT

(GROUP sings the American folk song.)

SONG 10  - “MY OLD KENTUCKY HOME”

GROUP      (singing) The head must bow
.          and the back will have to bend,
.          Wherever the people may go;
.          A few more days and the trouble all will end
.          In the field where sugar-canes may grow;
.          A few more days for to tote the weary load,
.          No matter, 'twill never be light,
.          A few more days till we totter on the road,
.          Then my old Kentucky home, good night!
.          (chorus) Weep no more, my lady,
.          Oh weep no more today!
.          We will sing one song for the old Kentucky home,
.          For the old Kentucky home far away.

.                          CENTER STAGE                   29

(JESSICA stands by a window, gazing out, when CLOE comes
from the kitchen with a teacup and walks toward the study.
JESSICA steps in front of her.)

JESSICA   I’ll take that in to them, Cloe.  
.         You have enough things to do, besides.

CLOE      Ah... huh... thank you, missus.

(JESSICA braces herself and enters study.  AJANI holds a rag
to DALIA’S head.  JACKSON fixes the leg of the chair.
AJANI jumps up to carefully take the teacup from JESSICA.)

JESSICA   Is your momma looking any better?

DALIA     (weakly)  Answer the lady, Ajani.

AJANI     A mite bit.

JESSICA   It’s nice to finally hear your voice.

JACKSON   Yes’m, it is!

(JESSICA turns to watch JACKSON work on her chair.
Without his long sleeved shirt, his shoulders are exposed
through the undershirt.  JESSICA’S eyes catch sight
she can’t stop herself from feeling shocked and commenting.)

JESSICA   So many scars!

JACKSON   Yes’m.

JESSICA   Sorry...  Tell me something, was it not difficult
.         to put your hope in a God who allowed you to be born
.         into slavery, and go through such brutality?

JACKSON   I’d say, in that, God’s my ONLY hope.
.            (JESSICA sits to listen)  Besides,
.         God didn’t put me into slavery, men did that.
.         And when I figure things can’t get any worse,
.         I just think on how God came to earth,
.         died and paid the full price for me, to set my
.         soul free from the slavery of sin – even though
.         I don’t deserve that.  So I put my faith in Him
.         and I choose to be a bondslave to God.  No matter
.         how bad things get, I knowed I’m free in Christ.
.         He’s the kindest, most loving Master...  
.         We’ve ALL been bought and paid for by His blood.

JESSICA   Yes, I am beginning to see many Bible verses in   30
.         a whole new light.  “For God so loved the WORLD-“

JACKSON   And it goes both ways, ma’am.  
.         You was a slave, no better than me.

JESSICA   (nerve is struck)  “For ALL have sinned.”

JACKSON   And Jesus set you free.  But have you chosen
.         to go and serve?  Are you a bondslave?
.         Have you fully dedicated yourself to being
.         a slave to righteousness no matter the price?

JESSICA   You should be a preacher, Mister Jackson.
.         You certainly have a way with the Word.

JACKSON   I’m a thinking I needs to know how to read.

JESSICA   I reckon you could learn.  I could teach you.

JACKSON   Mighty a generous offer, ma’am.  
.         But, it would take a lots a time, I suspect.

JESSICA   I suspect.

JACKSON   With the power of healing prayer, Dalia is slowly
.         getting better, and then we’d be a leaving.
.         But did I overhear’d that man jist say - they did
.         catch dat hearse driver who was a’coming for us.
.         I needs to find a new way to go on.  
.         I’m a thinking I’ll leave tonight after dark.
.         I’d go it alone.  I been along this route a’fore.
.         Once I find a transport, I’d be back quick like.
.         No one dat suspicious of a slave heading SOUTH.

JESSICA   I supposing not.  I’ll – tell Cloe to pack you
.         something to eat.  And –  then some – shoes!
.            (now noticing JACKSON’s bare feet)

JACKSON   Oh, I’s got shoes – them over yonder.
.         I’s jist a saving ‘em.

(JESSICA looks around.  Finding his shoes, she picks one up
to show a huge hole, then quickly puts it down.)

JESSICA   So, well, I’ll see about that food.

(JESSICA turns, but pauses to look at AJANI’S bare feet.  
Looking around, she doesn’t see any shoes for him.
JACKSON finishes sanding the chair leg and sets it aside
to go to DALIA, who tries to sit up a bit.)
.                                                        31
JACKSON   Now, you a sure you can go on in a day or two?

DALIA     I’s sure.  You see me!  Here, help me up,
.         ‘n take me for a walk.  (playfully chiding)
.         I still hear’d dat doctor ‘n what he said.

(JACKSON helps DALIA stand and props her up as they
walk around the room once or twice while talking.)

JACKSON   Then you hear’d my plan on leaving tonight –
.         look for another way to go on.

DALIA     For sure.  I know’s you’ll be careful.  
.         I know’s dat God be with you.

JACKSON   (noticing AJANI’S worried look)
.         Look a here, Ajani, your momma kin walk an’ talk.
.         Ajani’s been taking mighty good care of you.

DALIA     I know’d.  He did mighty good –

(As DALIA’S strength wanes, JACKSON sets her back down, then
sits next to AJANI.  JESSICA appears with a pair of shoes.)

JESSICA   Ah, see here, these were my husband’s.
.         He has no need for them no more.

(JESSICA sets the shoes quickly and down leaves.)

JACKSON   Thank you... ahh, hm.
.            (She’s gone. JACKSON smiles, then looks at AJANI.)
.         Ajani, as you hear’d, I’d be going tonight.
.         So you take food care of Mammy.
.         And, if anything’s to happen,
.         you ‘member the song I’d teached you –
.         the one that was teached to me by the old white
.         carpenter-man.  Peg Leg Joe, ‘member?
.         Da song dat tells you - keep following
.         da Tennessee River to da Ohio River,
.         and keep a lookout for little pictures
.         of da peg leg foot.  Look for ‘em
.         on the old dead trees - dat take you
.         the way up North.  And use da stars, ‘member,
.         the stars dat look like a drinking gourd?
.         A drinking cup with da long crooked handle?
.         It’s all told in dis here song.
.         Just so’s you’ll ‘member –
.         you sing it with me now.

(JACKSON waits for AJANI to sit beside him.)
.                                                           32
.                        ACT 2 – SCENE 5
.                         CENTER STAGE

(JACKSON begins to sing, with GROUP joining in.)

SONG 11  - “FOLLOW THE DRINKING GOURD”

JACKSON   (sings)  When the sun comes up
.         And the first quail calls,
.         Follow the drinking gourd
.         (AJANI joins in singing)
.         For the old man is a waiting
.         For to carry you to freedom
.         Follow the drinking gourd.

(As SLAVES on STAGE LEFT continue to sing the song,
JACKSON hugs and kisses DALIA and AJANI.  On the way out,
JESSICA motions for JACKSON to use the kitchen door.  
CLOE gives him a small bundle.  She and JESSICA wave goodbye.)

.                       STAGE LEFT

SLAVES    (sing) The river bank will make a mighty good road
.         Dead trees to show you the way
.         Left foot, right foot, travelin’ on
.         Follow the drinking gourd.

.         The river ends between two hills
.         Follow the drinking gourd.
.         But there’s another river on the other side
.         Follow the drinking gourd.

.         Follow the Drinking Gourd.
.         Follow the Drinking Gourd.
.         For the old man is a-waiting
.         for to carry you to freedom
.         If you follow the Drinking Gourd.

.                        CENTER STAGE

(JESSICA sits pouring over her Bible.)

JESSICA   Why, that is most interesting...  Hmmm...

(CLOE walks past her to bring a teacup to the study.  When
CLOE opens the door, JESSICA looks up and catches sight of
AJANI sitting on the floor, hugging his legs, rocking back
and forth, bored, and sad.  JESSICA goes to a cabinet and
pulls out a tin, which she takes tentatively to the study.)

DALIA     (looking up)  Morning, ma’am.                    53

JESSICA   Good morning, Dalia.  You’re looking much better.

DALIA     Most certainly it’s thanks to you and our Lord.
.         (to CLOE)  You think you can help me take a walk?

(CLOE helps DALIA stand up and then walk toward the door.)

JESSICA   Probably more the Lord, than me, most certainly.

CLOE      Come, let’s git you into fresher air.
.         Just be a short time.  Curtains are closed.

(CLOE walks DALIA into the main room.  JESSICA looks down
at AJANI with a mix of tenderness and uncertainty.)

JESSICA   Ajani, I have here something for you.  Used
.         to be my son’s.  But he is beyond playing with
.         these here toys.  I’d like for you to have them.
.            (holds out tin to AJANI who sits still and
.             and stares up at her with anger in his eyes)
.         Please, don’t feel things that way.

AJANI     The white folks think they can tell us
.         how to feel, now?

JESSICA   That’s not what I meant.  I – I sincerely wish
.         I could apologize to you on behalf of all
.         white folk.  For all the bad ever done to you.

AJANI     That don’t take it away.

JESSICA   No.  I reckon not.  But the Bible tells us
.         to forgive.

ANJANI    What if I’s don’t want to forgive?!

JESSICA   This would turn to anger and then bitterness.
.         And from my experience, you don’t hurt anybody –
.         but yourself, and those you love.  Understand?
.         By not forgiving the white people,
.         you are giving them the power.

AJANI     I ain’t giving them no power!

JESSICA   But you are.  And then you become - just like
.         the whites who hate the blacks.  You’d become
.         a black who hates the whites.  You see?
.         Like your daddy, you should live as a free man.

AJANI     You want me to be free?                       34

JESSICA   (pause)  Yes, I do.  And I hope you can learn
.         to trust.  Trust God.  And white folks.

AJANI     Which ones can I be trusting?  I’d never know.

JESSICA   I – I surely don’t know.  I’ll tell you something.
.         Which white folks should I be trusting?  Sadly,
.         there’s evil in the world, doesn’t matter the color.  
.         In every color, there are the good and the bad.  
.         Everybody struggles to love.  I’m suspecting -
.         we are more alike than we think.  And -
.            (looking at the tin in her hands)
.         I’m suspecting that all little boys like to play
.         with toys.  (puts the tin in front of AJANI)

AJANI     I wants to be a doctor when I’m grow’d up.
.         (JESSICA remains quiet)  Don’t ya think I can?

JESSICA   (watching CLOE get DALIA back to her bed)
.         Ahhh, well, let’s see how you continue to
.         care for your momma, now.  That was a fair bit
.         of exercise she just had there.

.                         ACT 3 – SCENE 1
.                           STAGE RIGHT

(GROUP sings the American folk song with gusto.)

SONG  12  - “OLD MAN TUCKER”

GROUP     (singing) I come to town the other night,
.         To hear the noise and see the fight
.         The people, they was running round
.         Cryin' Old Dan Tucker's come to town.
.         So get out the way!  get out the way!
.         Get out the way!  Old Dan Tucker,
.         He's too late to have his supper!

(GROUP forms a CROWD and makes a ruckus as a few MEN
drag out JACKSON, whose hands are tied behind his back.
AVA drags JESSICA up to the edge of the crowd.)

AVA       Just as I told you, Jessica.  Is that him?
.         Whatever you do, I pray you stand firm.

(JESSICA and AVA cower in the background while a very
loose trial preceding begins.  SLAVE DEALER steps forward.)

DEALER    Hold up, what’re your plans with this here one?
.                                                        35
MAN 1     We captured him - lurking behind some house.

DEALER    I can take ‘em off your hands.  He just needs
.         a good whipping and be sold further down south.

MAN 2     I say hang ‘em!

(MAN 2 pushes WIFE 2 forward with a gruff nod.)

WIFE 2    That! – That is the man.  That man – he raped me.

(CROWD gets riled up again with agreement.)

MAN 4     Don’t you figure you need more proof than that?

MAN 2     You’re not going to believe the testimony
.         of the lady?  She swears it to be true.

WIFE 2    I do swear.

MAN 4     What says the man?

MAN 1     Court of law don’t allow the negro to testify.
.         He’d only claim innocence anyway.

WOMAN 1   And I saw him sneaking about the other day.

DEALER    (to WIFE 2)  You’re for certain this is the man?

MAN 2     You jist wanna make the money off a him!

WIFE 2    It is the man.  I’m a certain he did rape me.

MAN 2     There now, you see?  We should just lynch him
.         right now.

MAN 4     Wait, hold on now, here comes the judge.

JUDGE     I heard about it.  This here the criminal?
.         (MAN 1 nods)  And this be the victim? (MAN 1 nods)
.         (to WIFE 2)  What’s your complete statement,
.         ma’am?  Give me all the details you remember.

WIFE 2    (thinking hard)  Yesterday afternoon, while
.         my husband was out a working, that man snuck
.         right into my house, and – took advantage.

JESSICA   Ah?!  Begging your pardon, but that’s a lie.
.         I can testify that none of this is true at all.

WIFE 2    (to JESSICA)  You calling me a liar?!          36

JESSICA   (bracing herself and stepping forward)
.         Now WHEN did you say this exactly happen?

WIFE 2    Yesterday afternoon!

JESSICA   Well, there, you see?  He was at my house
.         the entire day!  Working.

JUDGE     He’s your slave?

JESSICA   (carefully)  He’s been working for me, yes.

JUDGE     What’s he doing on someone else’s property?
.         That alone is suspicious activity.

JESSICA   He – he had to go – on an errand.  (thinking)
.         He’s a carpenter.  He’s been fixing things for me
.         around my estate, and this – takes supplies and wood.

DEALER    Where are your papers for him?

JESSICA   That is the thing.  Right now, my son is
.         in Missouri, helping them decide on things,
.         so he was not around to do any such paperwork.

(CROWD agrees with, “That’s right, he is in Missouri
trying to help the situation,” “Taking care a things,” etc.)

MAN 2     He should still be punished.

JESSICA   For what?  This is an outrage.  You would
.         pervert justice and punish an innocent man?

JUDGE     All right then.  Unsubstantial evidence,
.         unfortunately.  This hearing’s adjourned.
.         (to JESSICA)  Mind, you better get your paperwork
.         in order real soon, Miss Jessica.

DEALER    And we’ll be watching you real close, like.

JESSICA   (to MAN 1)  Please untie him.

MAN 1     Sure you can trust him?

(MAN 1 begrudgingly unties JACKSON and the CROWD slowly
dissipates.  Once alone, JESSICA looks at JACKSON and AVA.)

JESSICA   (sighing, to AVA)  Now what?!

AVA       Pray.  God will provide.                      37

(While JACKSON follows JESSICA to the house, AVA stays
and bows her head, singing the song.  Other ABOLOTIONISTS
who weren’t involved in the fiasco join in singing.)

.                      ACT 3 – SCENE 2
.                        STAGE RIGHT

(GROUP of abolitionists sing the traditional hymn.)

SONG 13  - “BE STILL, MY SOUL”

GROUP     (singing)
.         Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side;
.         Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
.         Leave to thy God to order and provide;
.         In every change He faithful will remain.
.         Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heavenly, Friend
.         Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

.         Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
.         To guide the future as He has the past.
.         Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake;
.         All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
.         Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
.         His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

.                        CENTER STAGE

(JACKSON hugs AJANI and DALIA while JESSICA paces.
CLOE enters and stands there wondering what to do.)

CLOE      What you need me to do now, missus?

JESSICA   Pray.

CLOE      I ain’t never learned how, missus.

JESSICA   (pauses to study CLOE)  I don’t think it
.         much matters how you do it, only IF you do it.
.         Jesus, our High Priest, is able to interpret
.         groanings too deep for words.  I’m quite certain,
.         He could understand pretty much anything.

CLOE      (looking up sincerely)  Ohhh Looorrrd, I groan.
.         I groan deep, and I groan hard.  
.         Oh Looord!  Amen!

JESSICA   Ah... amen, Cloe...  Thank you.

(JESSICA has to look away with a brief smile, yet still    38
close to tears.  When there is a knock at the door,
CLOE nods and rushes to answer the door cautiously.
Seeing that it is AVA, CLOE opens the door wide
to let her in, but AVA is followed by LANDON.)

CLOE      Miss Ava’s here, missus.  And... ohhh!...

JESSICA   It’s all right, Cloe.  This here’s Pastor Landon,
.         as I recollect.  Assistant to Pastor Robertson.

LANDON    Yes.  Howdy, ma’am.

JESSICA   How- how-dy.  What’s this now?

AVA       Answer to prayer!

(CLOE looks alert, curious if it was her prayer answered.)

CLOE      That be fast.

LANDON    We have finished our, ah, recruiting.  I’m afraid
.         our desires in this venture were quite zealous,
.         and therefore, seemingly pointless.  But,
.         obviously, God had me here for other reasons.

AVA       God sometimes works in mysterious ways.

JESSICA   And still, it remains mysterious to me.

LANDON    Oh, ah, yes, I’m journeying back to Ohio,
.         back to the seminary.  Classes will be
.         starting up again soon.

AVA       Pastor Landon here has agreed to take this group
.         up north with him.  The, ah, “passengers.”

(Finally understanding, JESSICA goes to the study and
waves out JACKSON, DALIA and AJANI out.)

JESSICA   Our prayers have been answered.  God has provided
.         you with a transport up north.  To Ohio.

(JACKSON collects his bundle, AJANI his tin of toys.)

JACKSON   Ohio?

LANDON    Cincinnati, yes.  I teach at a seminary there.
.         You are most welcome to stay with us.
.         But of course, you can chose to continue
.         further north if you so desire.

JESSICA   (notices JACKSON’S apprehension)                39
.         You can trust this man.  He’s a pastor,
.         and certainly one who is an instrument of God,
.         all in the efforts - of freedom – at any price.

JACKSON   What if we’d be stopped?  What do we say?

JESSICA   Could we draw up papers?  What if I were to
.         buy them first.  (quickly calms their shock)
.         Now-now – just hear me out.  I realize slaves
.         can go as high as three thousand dollars each.
.         But let’s just say, if I would – buy you three –
.         from yourselves – for a dollar each – ‘cause
.         that’s about all I can afford.  It’s just that
.         I’d like to do this real honest like,
.         and not have to lie if I’m ever questioned.
.         AND that way I’d also have the papers in case
.         the judge should ever ask me for them.

LANDON    I still fail to understand.

JESSICA   Well then YOU, Pastor Landon here,
.         buys them from me – for a dollar each-

LANDON    Just on principle I don’t like that idea at all.
.         I’ve always said - I would never own a slave.

JACKSON   (catching on)  Think of it as buying our freedom.

JESSICA   Exactly!  You’d be buying their freedom,
.         even though they are already free.

LANDON    Free in Christ, you mean.

JACKSON   That, and, we are free.  I gots all the papers.
.         Not, that it means much down here.  
.         Or even up north sometimes.
.         There are slave hunters who’ll kidnap illegally.

LANDON    Such a crazy world!  Well, if it is
.         to secure the freedom that they already have,
.         I suppose I can and will agree to this.

JESSICA   And since you’re so good with the written word,
.         if you can write out all these papers?

(JESSICA goes to the end table drawer and pulls out paper,
inkwell and a writing quill.  While LANDON sits and writes
a few notes, JESSICA sees CLOE standing to the side.
JESSICA quickly turns back to LANDON.)

JESSICA   And whilest you are at it, Pastor Landon,         40
.         please write out a note that says you bought Cloe.
.         (to CLOE)  Cloe, you’ll be going with them too.

CLOE      What?  No missus.  I stays here.

JESSICA   But Cloe, I want you to be free.

CLOE      Den just sets me free but let me stays here with you.

JESSICA   Why would you want to stay here?

CLOE      Missus, I don’t ever know’d nothing else.
.         Please lets me stay here.

JESSICA   But if I set you free, I can’t afford to pay you
.         nothing.  Or at least, not much, I can’t.
.            (struggling to look at CLOE’S pleading gaze)
.         And even if I could pay you, most stores around
.         here would refuse to even serve you.  Times may
.         change one day, but for now, unfortunately,
.         this- this is – just not a place for you.

CLOE      Just what we be be doing now, I can.  I don’t know
.         nothing else.  I don’t even need no papers.

AVA       It would still be wise to have papers, Cloe,
.         just to keep.  What if Miss Jessica were to die?
.         Mister Hunter could then sell you.

JESSICA   She’s right, you know, you need them papers anyway.
.         But I’d be honored if you stayed with me and worked
.         for your keep - and a little more as I can afford.
.         (realizes)  I should have gone through our stuff –
.         found some more shoes and clothing for you all–

DALIA     It’s all right den, you done plenty.
.         More dan you knows.

(LANDON finishes writing out seven papers.  LANDON keeps three,
and gives four to JESSICA, who gives one over to CLOE.)

JESSICA   Mind you keep this in a safe place.

CLOE      Thank you, missus.  (to JACKSON, DALIA and AJANI)
.         I’ll be a’groaning for you all.

DALIA     Thank you, Miss Cloe.  (to JESSICA)
.         Thank you, oh so much,  Miss Jessica.

JESSICA   Oh, go on now.  I – want to thank all a YOU.       41
.         You helped me.  I was blind, but now I see.

LANDON    We should get a move on.

(AVA and LANDON leave with JACKSON helping DALIA out.
JESSICA almost touches JACKSON’S shoulder but doesn’t quite.
JESSICA notices that AJANI sees this.  AJANI scowls
and begins to walk out.  JESSICA gets AJANI’S attention.)

JESSICA   Ajani.

(AJANI stops, his back to her.  JESSICA kneels down
beside him.  AJANI slowly turns to face her.)

JESSICA   Ajani, I just want to tell you... you’re smart,
.         you’re very smart, like your daddy...   And
.         I believe you’ll make a fine doctor, some day.

(AJANI puts his hand out to shake, almost like a dare.
JESSICA starts to put her hand out, and pauses.  Breaking down,
JESSICA gives AJANI a hug, face is toward the congregation.)

JESSICA   A very fine doctor, you hear?

(AJANI throws her a little smile and leaves.)

.                        ACT 3 - SCENE 3
.                          STAGE RIGHT

(SLAVES sing solemnly, then ending with more joy and hope.)

SONG 14  - “STEAL AWAY HOME”

SLAVES    (singing, building it up slowly)
.         Steal Away, steal Away,
.         Steal Away to Jesus.
.         Steal Away, steal away home.
.         I ain't got long to stay here.
.         (vs.1)  My Lord calls me,
.         He calls me by the thunder;
.         The trumpet sounds it in my soul:
.         I ain't got long to stay here.
.         (vs.2)  Green trees are bending,
.         Poor sinners stand trembling;
.         The trumpet sounds it in my soul:
.         I ain't got long to stay here.
.         (chr.)  Steal Away, steal Away,
.         Steal Away to Jesus.
.         Steal Away, steal away home.
.         I ain't got long to stay here.
.                                                           42
.                          CENTER STAGE

(HUNTER enters and drops his bags.)

HUNTER   Cloe!  I’m back.  I expect something to eat
.        in ten minutes.

(CLOE rushes out, with JESSICA following.)

JESSICA   Hunter, you will no longer be ordering
.         her about like that.

HUNTER    I can, if I want.

JESSICA   I set her free.

HUNTER    Come again?

JESSICA   I set her free.  She had her chance to leave.
.         Now she chose to stay here and work for her keep.

HUNTER    You remember, I am the sole executor of this
.         here estate.  This ain’t a decision you can make.

JESSICA   Well, she never was part of the estate.
.         (smiles reassuringly to CLOE)
.         She was legally given to me - as a present,
.         so I fully had the rights to make that decision.

HUNTER    What is this world coming to?  (sitting down)

CLOE      I still gets you a square meal, mas’r.
.           (exits to the kitchen)

JESSICA   Did your campaigning in Missouri not go
.         according to your wishes?

HUNTER    It was difficult enough just in Kentucky.
.         Most of the representatives in our legislature
.         support the Union.  Unbelievable!
.         The issue right now is, if Lincoln gets himself
.         elected, we fear this’ll lead to Civil War.
.         Kentucky’s in such a position.  So Magoffin’s
.         trying to convince the representatives that
.         we should remain neutral, even though he would
.         love for us to join the Confederacy –
.         but then we’d lose our northern market.

JESSICA   I thought you didn’t care for them up north?

HUNTER    Our economy can’t afford to lose either market,   43
.         north or south. And there’s no pleasing everybody.
.         I say, it’s women who started up all this mess
.         when they were taught to read and write,
.         and next they’ll be wanting to vote and own property.
.         And then what?  The Negroes will learn to read
.         and write?  What you suppose’ll happen?

JESSICA   I suppose the world will have more educated people.

HUNTER    How can a woman even understand all this?

JESSICA   Simple.  Matthew 7:12 says, “So in everything,
.         do unto others what you would have them do to you,
.         for this - sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

HUNTER    (stands up to pace)  But we are to be content
.         in the condition to which we find ourselves.

JESSICA   Hunter, would you be content as a slave,
.         who is whipped for any frivolous matter?
.         Would you be content with being a woman
.         who’s told at every turn that she cannot
.         think for herself?  You can’t even be content
.         when any white folk disagrees with your opinions!
.            (HUNTER stops pacing and glares at JESSICA)
.         I love you, Hunter.  But everybody is able to
.         contribute.  I’m talking about the grander picture,
.         here.  God puts the leaders in place, and tells us
.         to respect our government and pray for them.
.         Do your part, and be content.  I’m not saying
.         which one is right or wrong at the moment,
.         but political parties need each other –
.         for accountability-

HUNTER    I object-

JESSICA   This’s not a court of law, my son.  It is not
.         to argue to win at any price.  The purpose here is
.         to decide for ourselves: to live by truth and love,
.         or live by fear and hate.  But do not inflict
.         your beliefs and decisions onto me and others -
.         or you have done away with your precious democracy.  
.         And without a respectful ear to listen,
.         where is your faith - in the freedom of speech
.         and personal rights?  I just pray that you
.         open your eyes and your heart.  I pray
.         that this here NATION opens its eyes and heart.
.         Or I believe - oh, I believe -
.         there are bigger struggles yet to come.

(As the lights dim, one light is left over CLOE as       44
she folds her hands in prayer.)

CLOE      Ooooooh Looorrrd, I groan to Thee,
.         oh, how I groan to Thee, Lord.

(ALL enter to sing, combine both styles, intermingled in unity,
promoting equality.)

SONG 15  - “OH LORD, HEAR OUR PRAYER”

MAIN       Oh Lord, hear our prayer.
ECHO       Oh Lord!                We’re praying in the Sprit.
MAIN       Bring us together as one.
ECHO                               Giving glory!
MAIN       Altogether in the name of Your Son!
ECHO                                          Jesus our Lord!
MAIN       Oh Lord, hear our plea, let’s all work,
ECHO                                          All to His glory!
MAIN       let us work
All                    together in unity.

MAIN          You made us all,
ECHO       You             made us all the same.
MAIN       created in Your image.
ECHO                              All in Your name.
MAIN       You love us all,
ECHO                        So much so
MAIN       so let’s get on the same page!
ECHO                                       That’s why He came!

MAIN       Oh Lord, hear our prayer.
ECHO       Oh Lord!                We’re praying in the Sprit.
MAIN       Bind us together as one.
ECHO                               Giving glory!
MAIN       Altogether in the name of Your Son!
ECHO                                          Jesus our Lord!
MAIN       Oh Lord, hear our plea, let’s all sing
ECHO                                          All to His glory!
MAIN       let us sing
All                    together in harmony.

(other song options:
“HE REIGNS”,  “HIGHER GROUND”, or “COLORED PEOPLE”.)