History Comes Alive at Jonesborough Middle School

On November 7, 89 eighth graders packed into the library at Jonesborough Middle School to accompany Annette Broadacre on her sojourn through Jonseborough in 1856 in A Sojourn in Jonesborough, an original play written by Anne G’Fellers-Mason. The Heritage Alliance was invited to perform by Social Studies and English teacher Mr. Anderson. The Heritage Alliance has two, primary source-based theatrical pieces that can travel to schools,
A Sojourn in Jonesborough and “Things Are Changing,” (a twoperson show focusing on local teacher Julia Bullard Nelson and the changing roles of gender and race in education at the turn of the 20th century).

A Sojourn in Jonesborough is based on the travelogue “Winter in the South” by David Strother as published in Harpers Monthly Magazine. The play picks up where the serial leaves off in Jonesborough, with the women
of the Broadacre family wishing to remain in town. Sojourn recreates what Main Street Jonesborough may have looked like in the year 1856. After the performance, students asked questions including, “What type of primary sources were used to create the show? Where can you find primary sources? What’s an archive? What societal
changes have taken place since the mid-1800s? What was the most surprising thing learned through the research? Why was Annette selected to be the narrator? Why did anyone think hoop skirts were ever a good thing?” Several students voiced an interest in wanting to volunteer for the Heritage Alliance.

Mr. Anderson shared, “The performance by the Heritage Alliance at Jonesborough Middle School provided
students with a first-hand account of how primary sources can be used in today’s world. Students focus on dissecting
primary sources in US History and understanding life in the 1700s and 1800s. Also, the use of storytelling in English class is a key element in understanding how characters and stories develop over time. A Sojourn in Jonesborough gave students an opportunity to see all of these elements working together to create a performance they won’t soon forget.”

Performances of A Sojourn in Jonesborough and “Things Are Changing” are available for local classrooms. To learn more about our educational programs, visit www.heritageall.org/education/. We are dedicated to providing educational experiences related to the history and preservation of our region. The Heritage Alliance actively cooperates with schools and school groups to teach history both outside and inside of the classroom.