The 40 Acres and a Mule Tour is based on 12 years of research that began when we, Lorrie and Fritz Rumpel, decided to create and produce a play, "Let My people go," about the history of slavery in Savannah. Although we both grew up in the city, neither of us had been aware of the many pivotal events that occurred here that left a significant imprint on America's relationship with "the peculiar institution." To listen to a feature story on "Let My people go" on Georgia Public Broadcasting, click .
One of the scenes in the play we produced in 2007 drew directly from the meeting of 20 Black church leaders with Secretary of War Edwin Stanton and General William T. Sherman on January 12, 1865. A few years later, we expanded on that scene by producing a 30-minute docudrama, "40 Acres and a Mule." Since 2015 we have shown the film at public libraries, museums, churches and schools in Savannah, Atlanta, Jacksonville and Bluffton, South Carolina. The film premiered at the 2015 National Black Theatre Festival Filmfest in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
The 40 Acres and a Mule Tour, which we introduced in 2017, is the culmination of all of our research. It puts the meeting into greater historical context by showing how the promotion of slavery and the rise of the Black church in Savannah made the event not only possible but inevitable. And if you can't make it to Savannah anytime soon, you can rent or buy the video of the tour at 40acresandamule.org-the-truth
Our latest project is Susie King Taylor: "What a Wonderful Revolution!", a play that premiered in Savannah on May 27, 2022. Read all about it at our sister site, www.historytheatre.org.
Source Materials for Our Programs
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In order to develop a tour, play, film and book that have the ring of authenticity, we have invested thousands of hours of research time poring over such primary resources as public and private correspondence, private diaries, contemporaneous newspapers and journals, government documents, and speeches from the years 1733 to 1865. To listen to an excerpt of the newspaper account of "The Weeping Time," the largest sale of human beings in North American history, click .
In addition, we have relied on the published memoirs of Civil War-era officers, nurses and journalists to help tell the story of 40 acres and a mule. The results are projects that tell a story of freedom through faith with intriguing subplots along the way.