Booksigning for Go Down, Old Hannah

Sat Feb 27, 2010


Author Naomi Mitchell Carrier will be present to autograph her book on Saturday, February 27th from 2 to 4pm.

This groundbreaking publication zooms in on Texas black history with a wide-angle lens and a telephoto one on African Americans. Carrier’s 15 living history plays examine Texas slavery through different viewpoints and have been performed for historic sites and museums throughout the state since 1994.


While educators nationwide are sorting through reform initiatives to craft a way to deal with the ugly history of slavery, Carrier’s Appendix is full of lesson plans that reveal how overcoming slavery is a victory for both black people and for America.

The plays in Go Down, Old Hannah cover subject matter ranging from slave celebrations, family breakups, and escapes, to the Civil War, emancipation, and Reconstruction. There is even information on the Underground Railroad from Texas to Mexico. Each play is research-based and performed by Talking Back Living History Theatre as a festival production; for students at universities and schools; for conferences and family reunions; and at libraries and museums. This unique University of Texas Press book is sure to appeal to teachers, historians, Texana enthusiasts, museum administrators, and students looking to fill in some of the blanks in black history. Production notes make the plays fun and easy for classes to perform.

Go Down, Old Hannah is a bridge, a bridge for cross-cultural communication; a bridge from the past to future communication and understanding. The plays were written to show the interdependence of Texas pioneers and their enslaved; and to show the intelligence and dignity of those denied the freedom of humanity.

Naomi Mitchell Carrier, teacher, researcher, playwright, pianist, composer, and actress is a consummate artist who has worked for thirty years as a classroom teacher and performer to bring a fresh perspective to Texas History.

“Go Down, Old Hannah”

The Living History of African American Texans

By Naomi Mitchell Carrier
Foreword by John E. Fleming

“Go Down Old Hannah, well, well, well!

Doncha rise no more.

If you rise in the mornin’,

Bring Judgment Day.”

-Traditional prison camp work song by Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter

Living history is a style of instructive and entertaining performance that seeks to bring history to life with the use of costumes, tools, and reenactments appropriate to a specific time period. Done well, living history performances illuminate human experience in powerful, unforgettable ways.

The fifteen living history plays in this collection were commissioned by museums and historic sites in Texas to show the interdependence of African American experiences and contributions to the living history of Texas. The plays cover subject matter ranging from slave celebrations, family breakups, and running away, to the Civil War, emancipation, and Reconstruction. Each play is research based and performed by Talking Back Living History Theatre as a festival production. These scripts are easily performed, and author Naomi Mitchell Carrier has included production notes in the overviews that precede each play. Lesson plans are also included, which add to the collection’s appeal as a classroom tool.

Carrier’s talent for bringing historical figures to life is exceptional. The names of most primary characters in these plays are real. By giving them faces, feelings, intelligence, and dignity, Carrier aims to give them new life.

Naomi Mitchell Carrier is an independent scholar, playwright, and performer. She is the founder and CEO of the Texas Center for African American Living History and co-founder of Talking Back Living History Theatre.