Maryland Humanities Presents 24th Year of Living History Series

Chautauqua Performances Feature a Legendary Abolitionist, a Boundary-Breaking Supreme Court Justice, and a Fierce Humanitarian

Maryland Humanities brings Frederick Douglass, Thurgood Marshall, and Eleanor Roosevelt back to life through its program, Chautauqua: Seeking Justice. Actor-scholars portraying these three giants of social justice will travel to eight counties throughout the state, from July 5 until July 15.

Chautauqua celebrates its 24th season this summer. Living history performances by actor-scholars are followed by question and answer sessions which spark spirited conversation and provide educational family fun. The Thurgood Marshall performance features an excerpt from the George Stevens, Jr. play, Thurgood, and will be followed by a dialogue with Dr. Lenneal Henderson. Henderson, an internationally recognized scholar, brought Marshall to life in the 2010 Maryland Humanities Chautauqua tour. Every Chautauqua performance is free and open to the public and opens with live local musical and theatrical acts.

Chautauqua performances will take place at: Garrett College in McHenry; Elkton Central Library; Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels; Harford Community College in Bel Air; Cecil College in Elkton; College of Southern Maryland in La Plata; Montgomery College in Germantown; Community College of Baltimore County in Catonsville; and Crofton Community Library. Learn more about Chautauqua at

Chautauqua is supported in part by Old Line Bank, Baltimore County Commission on the Arts and Sciences, Talbot County Arts Council (with funds from the Maryland State Arts Council), and Karen and Langley Shook.

2018 Chautauqua Characters and Performers

Frederick Douglass (1818–1895)—a writer, orator, and abolitionist—was one of the most important African American activists of the 19th Century. 2018 is the “Year of Frederick Douglass”—the bicentennial celebration of the Marylander’s birth.

Douglass will be performed by Bill Grimmette, a living history interpreter, storyteller, actor, and motivational speaker who has worked in film, television, and on stage throughout the United States and abroad. He has appeared as Martin Luther King, Jr., W.E.B. Du Bois, Frederick Douglass, and Benjamin Banneker at Chautauquas in Maryland, Colorado, South Carolina, and at schools in the Northern Mariana Islands. He has also performed at the Smithsonian Institution, the Kennedy Center, and on National Public Radio. Grimmette has an M.A. in psychology from the Catholic University of America and has done post-graduate work in education at George Mason University.

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962) was a humanitarian, diplomat, and the longest serving First Lady in American history. She also advocated for fair labor laws, civil rights, women’s representation in government, and more social justice issues.

Susan Marie Frontczak—who has given more than 700 presentations as Marie Curie, Mary Shelley, Irene Castle, Clara Barton, and Eleanor Roosevelt across 38 of the United States and abroad in her 17 years as a living history scholar—will portray Roosevelt. Frontczak says her biggest challenge with Mrs. Roosevelt is to choose what pieces of her immense life to include in any given presentation and so has developed four distinct programs to explore different aspects of Roosevelt’s life. She also works with both adults and youth to develop their own living history presentations, including authorship of the Young Chautauqua handbook for Colorado Humanities.

Thurgood Marshall (1908–1993) was a civil rights activist from Baltimore who broke barriers as the lead NAACP attorney in Brown v. Board of Education and as the first African American Supreme Court Justice.

Marshall will be portrayed by Brian Anthony Wilson, who recently appeared as the great man in a full production of George Stevens, Jr.’s play Thurgood at Olney Theatre Center. A professional actor, Wilson’s recent stage credits include Romeo & Juliet: A Requiem and The Diary of Anne Frank (People’s Light, PA), Fences (J.A.G. Prod. in Woodstock, VT), and Titus Andronicus (Rowan University, NJ). Upcoming projects include Sweat (Philadelphia Theatre Company) and Gem of the Ocean (Arden, PA). Selected screen credits include Ocean’s 8, Glass, Creed, Limitless, 6 Souls, Soller’s Point, Crooked & Narrow, Keeping The Faith, The Postman/Siren (Freeform), Dietland (AMC), Bloodline (Netflix), Gotham (Fox), Bull (CBS), Broad City (Comedy Central), Blue Bloods (CBS), and The Sopranos and The Wire (HBO).

Dr. Lenneal Henderson is a Visiting Instructor at the College of William and Mary. He is also an Assistant Dean for Civic Engagement and International Affairs; Distinguished Professor of Government and Public Administration and Senior Fellow at the William Donald Schaefer Center for Public Policy and a Senior Fellow in the Hoffberger Center for Professional Ethics, Emeritus at the University of Baltimore. Dr. Henderson has been a consultant for more than 30 years in the areas of housing, education policy, energy management, and environmental policy. He has appeared as Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King, Jr., and A. Philip Randolph in Maryland, North Carolina, California, Texas, Virginia, Colorado and Nevada. Dr. Henderson is a former Board Chair of Maryland Humanities and a current member of the Virginia Humanities board. He received his A.B., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California, Berkeley.

Tour Dates (Alphabetical by County): 

Anne Arundel County
Crofton Community Library

1681 Reidel Road, Crofton, MD 21114

Saturday, July 14, 2:00 p.m.: Frederick Douglass

Baltimore County
Center for the Arts Theatre at Community College of Baltimore County, Catonsville
800 South Rolling Road, Catonsville, MD 21228

Friday, July 13, 7:00 p.m.: Frederick Douglass
Saturday, July 14, 7:00 p.m.: Eleanor Roosevelt
Sunday, July 15, 7:00 p.m.: Thurgood Marshall 

Cecil County
Elkton Central Library
301 Newark Avenue, Elkton, MD 21921

Saturday, July 7, 6:00 p.m.: Frederick Douglass

Elkton Station Performing Arts Hall at Cecil College, Elkton
107 Railroad Avenue, Elkton, MD 21921

Tuesday, July 10, 7:00 p.m.: Thurgood Marshall

Charles County:
The Fine Arts Center at The College of Southern Maryland, La Plata
8730 Mitchell Road, La Plata, MD 20646

Tuesday, July 10, 6:45 p.m.: Frederick Douglass
Wednesday, July 11, 6:45 p.m.: Eleanor Roosevelt
Thursday, July 12, 6:45 p.m.: Thurgood Marshall

Garrett County:
Garrett College Auditorium at Garrett College
687 Mosser Road, McHenry, MD 21541

Thursday, July 5, 7:00 p.m.: Frederick Douglass
Friday, July 6, 7:00 p.m.: Eleanor Roosevelt
Saturday, July 7, 7:00 p.m.: Thurgood Marshall

Harford County:
Chesapeake Theater at Harford Community College, in partnership with Harford County Public Library

401 Thomas Run Road, Bel Air, MD 21015

Monday, July 9, 7:00 p.m.: Eleanor Roosevelt

Montgomery County:
Globe Hall in the High Technology Building at Montgomery College, Germantown
20200 Observation Drive, Germantown MD 20876

Wednesday, July 11, 7:00 p.m.: Frederick Douglass
Thursday, July 12, 7:00 p.m.: Eleanor Roosevelt
Friday, July 13, 7:00 p.m.: Thurgood Marshall

Talbot County
*Outdoors by the Steamboat Building at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum
213 N. Talbot Street, St. Michaels, MD 21663

Monday, July 9, 7:00 p.m.:  Frederick Douglass
Tuesday, July 10, 7:00 p.m.:  Eleanor Roosevelt
Wednesday, July 11, 7:00 p.m.:  Thurgood Marshall

*All Talbot County performances will be held outdoors. Please bring folding chair. In case of severe weather, program will be held in the Steamboat Building auditorium.