Posted 10 May 2018
Spies recounted their stories at the Calvert County Democratic Women’s Club fundraiser last week. The community came out in their garden skirts and tea hats to support the Democratic Scholarship Fund and enjoy an enormous spread of snacks and sandwiches.
While the audience sipped and snacked, two actresses performed as historical Women in History. Vernice Jackson‘s brilliant portrayal of Mary Elizabeth Bowser was gripping. Mary Elizabeth was an enslaved woman working in the Confederate White House in Richmond where she spied on Jefferson Davis for the Union. Having received an education in the North and possessing a photographic memory, Mary Elizabeth was a valuable asset to the Virginian abolitionist espionage efforts. Her intense tale is fascinating and Vernice Jackson played it beautifully.
The Club’s own Helenmary Ball performed the riveting role of Elizabeth Van Lew. Elizabeth Van Lew was an abolitionist who used her fortune and connections as a lady in Richmond’s high society to build an elaborate spy network for advancing the Union cause. Being willing to give up both her family's wealth and her high social standing, Elizabeth was solely dedicated to seeing an end to slavery in the United States. Helenmary captured that essence and enthralled as both a genteel Southern lady and a scheming Union spy.
The performance is a production of Women in History, a non-profit corporation dedicated to education of all people through the dramatic re-creation of lives of notable women in U.S. History. To read more about either Elizabeth Van Lew or Mary Elizabeth Bowser, visit the Women in History website.
Proceeds from the Tea go to the Women’s Club Scholarship Fund. Each year, the Club awards four scholarships: one to a graduating senior from each of Calvert’s four high schools. The 2018 recipients will be receiving their awards at the next Women’s Club meeting, Tuesday, June 5th.