One Woman Show

One Woman Show Archive

Harriet Tubman

I Am That I Am: Woman Black







One actress takes you on a spiritual and enlightening journey spanning over 200 years of struggle and triumph ... all in one evening. This is an unforgettable evening in the theatre as each of these remarkable ladies is revealed in stunningly honest clarity. This is a trip through time that will remain with you forever.




Collage created by Doug Haverty of Art & Soul Design (Los Angeles).


 Sojourner Truth

Born Isabella Baumfree in New York, she became a runaway when her master refused to grant her freedom in 1827 when slavery was outlawed in New York. Not only was Ms. Truth an abolitionist, but an ardent speaker for temperance, prison reform, better conditions for working people and woman’s suffrage. On two occasions she took legal cases to court and won. This was unheard of for a Negro during that time. 

"Barnes, an award-winning stage actress rocked through the M-Shop at full volume to for shadow her mood of the performance."

-Iowa State Daily - Ames, Iowa

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 Harriet Tubman 

Given the name Minty Ross at birth, she was born a slave on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She married John Tubman and became a runaway after learning she was about to be sold. Ms.Tubman subsequently led over 300 slaves to freedom by way of the Underground Railroad. These secret stations stretched from Wilmington, Delaware to the Great Lakes and included such hiding places as barns, cellars, churches, caves and wagons with false bottoms for long trips in harsh weather. 

"When Adilah Barnes changes costumes during her one-woman show, she not only slips into a new character, but also a new chapter in history."

-Lewiston Morning Tribune - Lewiston, Idaho

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 Mary McLeod Bethune

Fifteenth of seventeen children and born to slave parents, she was the first one born free. A college graduate, she became an educator and founded the Daytona Educational & Industrial School for Negro Girls in Florida with $1.50 in her pocket and a great vision. The school grew to become Bethune-Cookman College. Under the Roosevelt Administration, Ms. Bethune became Director of Negro Affairs in the National Youth Administration and a powerful figure in New Deal policies relating to Negroes. She became known as “the Second Lady” because of her close and influential relationship with Eleanor Roosevelt. She founded the National Council of Negro Women and is remembered by many for her uncanny ability to turn dreams into realities. 

" the schools is where I AM THAT I AM: WOMAN, BLACK belongs, for its view is uncompromisingly heroic offering role models..."

-Los Angeles Times - Los Angeles, California 

(photo: Asilee Parkinson)

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 Zora Neale Hurston

Born in the all-black town of Eatonsville, Florida, she went on to become a novelist, folklorist and anthropologist. The toast of the Harlem Renaissance, she dedicated her life struggling to keep African American heritage alive. Her published work, including the best-seller Their Eyes Were Watching God, remains a testament to that struggle and an inspiration to those who have followed in her footsteps, including Alice Walker who traveled to Eatonsville to find Ms. Hurston’s unmarked grave and crown it with a headstone. 

"...(her) characterizations put you in touch with the roots of black people, and in particular the strength of black women...(her) Zora Neale made you want to snap your fingers two times and say 'Go head on girl, do that!'"

-The Los Angeles Watts Times - Los Angeles, California 

(photo: Asilee Parkinson)

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 Lorraine Hansberry

At 29, she became the youngest American, the fifth woman and the first Black playwright to win the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for the Best Play of the Year. Her first play, A Raisin in the Sun, has since been published and produced in some 30 countries, while her film adaptation was nominated by the new York critics for the Best Screenplay and received a Cannes Film Festival Award. It was the first African American play to be produced on Broadway. At 34, during the run of her second play, The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, she died of cancer. To Be Young,Gifted and Black, a posthumous dramatic portrait of Ms. Hansberry in her own words, was the longest running off-Broadway drama of 1969. Her last play, Les Blancs, was also hailed by critics. 

“I was deeply inspired by the performance. While I can’t find words to describe the chills running through me while I watched, I can say that I found this play thrilling and inspiring.” 

- Jackie Litt Associate Professor of Sociology & Women’s Studies Iowa State University

(photo: Asilee Parkinson)

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 Angela Davis

Rising from the projects in Birmingham, Alabama she became one of the most significant political figures of this century. An avowed communist, Ms. Davis fought for prison reform including the movement to free the Soledad Brothers. She, at one time,was on the FBI’s list of the Ten Most Wanted Fugitives. Her controversial political trial gained worldwide attention and support. Her publications include, Angela Davis, An Autobiography; Women, Culture and Politics and Women, Race and Class. Angela Davis is one of the last and perhaps the most triumphant figures of that era. She presently teaches at the University of California at Santa Cruz. 

“Her innovative way in depicting these individuals made the performance not only informational, but also entertaining.” 

-The Wisconsin-Milwaukee Post - Milwaukee, Wisconsin


*Material used by permission of Angela Davis.

(photo: Asilee Parkinson)

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 Maya Angelou

Born in St. Louis,Missouri, with the name Marguerite Johnson, she grew up in Stamps, Arkansas with her grandmother and only sibling, Bailey, who gave her the name Maya (originally “my sister”). In the words of one critic,“ ... [Maya Angelou] has touched more bases in her career than Hank Aaron.” She is known as an author, poet, playwright, civil rights activist, editor, songwriter, singer, educator and dancer. The five volumes of her brilliant autobiography span from the awardwinning I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings to All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes. Ms. Angelou was the first African American woman to have an original script produced and the first woman director in the Director’s Guild of America. In 1982, she received a lifetime appointment as Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forrest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina where she still teaches.

“Adilah: You were phenomenal! ... you are such an incredibly positive force in my life and the lives of those who are able to see you perform.” 

Shari Clarke 
Formerly special Assistant to the President for Diversity and Equity 
Lincoln, Nebraska

(photo: Asilee Parkinson) 

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For booking information, please call 818-679-2086