Free Ebook — Milly Pierce: A Slave Turned Slave-Owner in Pre-Civil War Virginia

Posted on February 20, 2017 at 8:00 am

Copyright 2016 Miniver Press

A free ebook for Black History Month — Milly Pierce: A Slave Turned Slave-Owner in Pre-Civil War Virginia is free for five days.

Black, female and on her own, Milly Pierce embodies in many ways the long, complex and convoluted quest for equality that continues to characterize the odyssey of American women and minorities. This astonishing true story of an enslaved woman who won her freedom and found that the only way she could survive was to herself become a slaveholder echoes the themes of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Edward P. Jones, The Known World. Milly Pierce did not merely survive white oppression, she made a place for herself in the white power structure—and prospered as a “free woman of colour” rather than a freed slave. She did not accept her freedom meekly as a gift from her white master, she claimed that freedom as her own natural condition. As the Virginia legislature imposed new restrictions on free black citizens’ right to work, to education, to worship, to assemble and to trial by jury, Milly Pierce literally held her ground, the first black woman to own land in that part of the state, and thriving as an astute businesswoman. CeCe Bullard’s meticulously researched book tells her story for the first time.

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Books

Ashley Judd Movie, “Big Stone Gap,” Coming This Fall

Posted on May 27, 2015 at 12:29 pm

Copyright Picturehouse 2015
Copyright Picturehouse 2015
Picturehouse will be releasing “Big Stone Gap” this fall. It was filmed on location in Virginia and stars Ashley Judd as Ave Maria Mulligan, who lives a simple life with her mother, runs the pharmacy, directs the real-life tourist attraction called the The Trail of the Lonesome Pine Outdoor Drama. Mulligan hopes that Theodore Tipton, her best friend and the high school band director, will take their platonic friendship in a romantic direction. But she has been waiting for a long time. Now she sees herself as the old maid of Big Stone Gap, and decides that happiness is for other people – that is, until a long-buried family secret throws her quiet life spectacularly off-course. The cast includes Patrick Wilson,Whoopi Goldberg, John Benjamin Hickey, Jane Krakowski, Anthony La Paglia and Jenna Elfman.

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Features & Top 10s

The First Middleburg Film Festival Starts Tonight

Posted on October 24, 2013 at 8:00 am

I’m very excited to be attending the opening of the first-ever Middleburg Film Festival tonight here in Virginia.  Middleburg is the heart of Virginia horse country.  It was established in 1787, with land purchased from George Washington’s cousin.  Famous for its fox hunts and vineyards, the town’s historic inns have hosted everyone from Civil War soldiers to President John F. Kennedy and actress Elizabeth Taylor.   There are over 33 wineries in the area, plus a beautiful landscape along the Blue Ridge Mountains and more than 160 historic buildings.  The just-opened, ultra-luxurious Salamander Resort will host the festival.  Bruce Dern, generating Oscar buzz for his performance in the upcoming Alexander Payne film “Nebraska,” will be there to present the film and have a conversation with Janet Maslin covering his career.  And the film slate is top-notch, including “August: Osage County” with Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep and “Philomena” with Dame Judi Dench and Steve Coogan.

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Misty

Posted on July 21, 2010 at 8:18 am

If you can’t make it to Virginia today for the annual swimming of the ponies, take a look at this faithful adaptation of the classic (and fact-based) children’s book Misty of Chincoteague, by Marguerite Henry. It is the story of two children who fall in love with a wild horse, descended from the Spanish ponies who escaped from a sinking ship and swam to Asateague, an island off the coast of Virginia. The children are Paul and Maureen, who live with their grandparents on Chincoteague, a neighboring island. Once a year, the residents of Chincoteague go to Asateague to capture ponies.

There is a very nice presentation of the challenge of teaching the foal independence, how hard it is for her, but how much love it shows. Paul learns this when he has to let the Phantom, Misty’s mother, go back to Asateague. He tells Misty to go, too, but Misty stays and runs after the children. Her home is with them, now. This movie provides a good opportunity to talk about showing love by letting go. The brother and sister have a very good, supportive relationship. And their grandfather (Arthur O’Connell) is strict and proud but understanding, as shown by his reaction when Paul goes off to Asateague alone.

Questions for Kids:

Why is it important for Misty to learn to be independent? What is a good way to teach her?

Does she know that her mother loves her even though she is trying to teach her to do things for herself?

Why does Misty want to stay with the children? Why doesn’t the Phantom want to stay?

How does Paul know?

Connections: David Ladd is the son of 40s star Alan Ladd (“Shane”).

Activities: Children will enjoy Misty of Chincoteague and its sequels. See if they can find the island of Chincoteague on a map, and look for information about the annual auction. Take the kids to a pony ride, or to a place where they can feed and pet some horses.

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