Performer to Portray Famous Abolitionist

Performer to Portray Famous Abolitionist


Robert Djed Snead, a performing historical re-enactor, lecturer and storyteller, will deliver two re-enactments of a famous Syracuse abolitionist, on Thursday, Feb. 16, at SUNY Cortland.

Snead, from Rochester, N.Y., will perform “Escaped Slave and Now Rev. Jermain W. Loguen Visits Cortland,” at 7 p.m. in Sperry Center, Room 205. At 4 p.m., he will discuss and perform “Re-enacting a Historical Figure (Rev. Jermain W. Loguen)” in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge.

Both events are free and open to the public.

“Jermain Loguen became a powerful voice for abolition and for human rights in Central New York,” said Associate Librarian David Ritchie, organizer of the Memorial Library’s Black History Month events, about the planned re-enactment.

An escaped slave, Loguen first learned to read and write in Canada, and then became a pastor and eventually a bishop in the AME Zion Church in Syracuse, according to Ritchie. Loguen and his wife provided a much-publicized stop at his home for slaves making their way to Canada and freedom on the underground railroad. The abolitionist also helped engineer the 1851 “Jerry Rescue” of a captured escaped slave. He made an early documented visit to the village of Cortland to tell his story at both the Presbyterian and Baptist Churches.

“Snead will de-construct his process of becoming a historical figure, which might be of interest to performing arts majors or teacher education majors,” Ritchie said.

Snead will discuss the research and preparation of the historical character and offer a question-and-answer session at both performances. He gave the same re-enactment during the 2011 Induction Ceremonies for Rev. Loguen at the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum, in Peterboro, N.Y.

Snead has been a member of Blackstorytelling League of Rochester, N.Y., since the early 1990s. He also is a member of Akwaaba: The Heritage Associates and the Maafa Celebration Committee of Rochester, N.Y.

In 2005, he illustrated and published a children’s picture book titled Nasty Nathan, the No-Good Gnat Who Never Listened to Nobody! The sequel to his first book was published in 2010, along with a collection of poetry titled ITISU.

A graduate of SUNY Brockport, Snead has worked in the human services field for 25 years.

For more information about Snead’s performances and other library BHM events, contact Ritchie at (607) 753-2818.

For more information about SUNY Cortland’s other Black History Month events, contact Seth Asumah, a SUNY distinguished teaching professor at (607) 753-2064, or in Old Main, Room 208-B.