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Piedmont woman’s play honors Harriet Tubman

GIBSONVILLE, N.C. -- Before each performance, Diane Faison spends a few minutes alone.

“I just meditate and I ask God to bring her spirit to me, so I can tell her story. She’s not here, but I want to be her voice,” she said.

Faison has written and performs in the one-woman play “The Spirit of Harriet Tubman.”

“I chose Harriet because she has such power and determination,” she said.

Faison’s work sharing Tubman’s legacy began in Virginia in the 1980s.

She was teaching her middle school students about black history.

“I decided, why just have them write a report? So I wanted to look for an African-American figure that I could portray and make come to life,” she said.

Faison, a native of Winston-Salem, stopped performing after her husband passed away, but was encouraged to continue once she retired from teaching and moved back to the Piedmont.

She started performing the play in the Piedmont around 2010 and over the years has performed at churches, retirement homes, public and private schools and colleges and universities.

The role which lasts on-stage for about an hour and 15 minutes requires presenting intense emotions to capture the harsh reality of life as a slave.

“If I see a person in the audience crying, I’ve done my job. They feel it,” she said.

Faison maintains a busy schedule performing in multiple states, such as North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland.

“I’m going to do this as long as I’m physically able,” she said. “It’s that important to me.”

For more information about Faison and her performances, visit “The Spirit of Harriet Tubman” Facebook page.