I wish to publicly thank many individuals who were instrumental in bringing to stage “Robert Smalls and His Heroic Escape” that premiered Feb. 2. To Aiken City Councilwoman Lessie B. Price, thank you for making available the venue – the URS Center for the Performing Arts.

To the amazing performers and supporting and technical cast, thank you for your level of excellence and spirit of cooperation. I especially thank participants from South Aiken Presbyterian Church, Aiken Community Playhouse, Aiken Historical Museum and the community at large who, alongside of Friendship Baptist Church, contributed time, talent, ideas, costumes and props.

To the musicians and vocalists, you were the wind beneath the wings of veteran performers. Because of you, the onstage performance soared to higher heights. To the shipbuilders, Evan Pontoo and Johnny Freeman, thank you for the unforgettable “wow factor.” Your replica of “The Planter” allowed us to internalize and visualize the events that unfolded in the Charleston Harbor on May 13, 1862. To all who attended, we are grateful for your support and desire to be lifelong learners of history lessons that reveal, remind, restore and remember. Your generous comments and encouraging expressions are most appreciated.

To the untiring committee members – Dorothy Naylor, Audrey Ogletree, Cynthia and Frank Wright and Calvin Suber – whose deep-down dedication is beyond measure, may God continue to bless each of you. It is my hope that we may continue the vision of producing educationally sound docudramas that heighten understanding, encourage achievement, increase tolerance, teach diversity and promote unity among all humankind.

Mary Suber

Black History Program chair and scriptwriter – “Robert Smalls and His Heroic Escape”