Locals Celebrate Martin Luther King Day at Ash Lawn-Highland

By: Althea Paul
By: Althea Paul

January 16, 2006

Some locals in our area celebrated Martin Luther King Day by paying a visit to one president's homes. There they looked back at the times of slavery and how one rebellion helped pave the way for things to come.

"I never knew about this rebellion and it was nice to hear about all the different perspectives of people that were involved," said Ash Lawn visitor, Janet James.

It was called Gabriel's Rebellion. Visitors to Ashlawn Highland spent Martin Luther King Day learning through characters about the attempted slave revolt in Richmond in 1800. It was one that ended with the deaths of hundreds who rebelled.

"We wanted to do this today because it led the way, we think, for Dr. King's quiet, peaceful way of showing strength. The quiet peaceful way would not have worked 200 years ago," said Ash Lawn education director, K.K. Pearson.

"In 1800, we speak of the violence part of it, but Mr. King himself was speaking of the peace part of it," said character in the tour, Russell Hubert.

Each room in Monroe's house hosted a character with their own point of view towards the historic event, showing times were different back then. Historians at Ashlawn say back in 1800, it would have been impossible for a non-violent revolution to take place. However, it did help lay the groundwork for the change brought about by Dr. King.

This day set aside to remember a peaceful man seemed fitting for many.

"To hear the slaves input on that, as well as Monroe's, as well as the other portrayers today tell us more about the history," said Ash Lawn-Highland visitor, Gordon Malone. "And this was a good day to learn more about things that occurred in this area."

Visitors hope that learning from the past, can change things for the future.

"We all have to continue to look toward the future and try to make things better and better," added visitor, Charlotte Malone.

This is the second year Ash Lawn-Highland has offered the "Gabriel's Rebellion" tour.

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