February 21, 2023 7:30 pm

Freedom Bound tells the true story of the escape of Addison White from slavery in Kentucky, his flight north on the Under-ground Railroad, and his rescue by the citizens of Mechanicsburg, Ohio. The characters of Addison White and Udney Hyde serve as narrators as well as characters.

The play begins in August, 1856. Addison is a slave on the farm of Daniel White in Fleming County, Kentucky. We learn about what it was like to be a slave: long hours of work and no human dignity. One day, Addison is grinding cane at a sorghum wheel and he faints from heatstroke. Daniel White finds him and is going to tie him up and beat him. Addison resists, fighting Master White to a draw.

The scene shifts to Ohio. We learn that while Addison is suffering in slavery, Udney Hyde has been moving slaves north on the Underground Railroad for several years. His activities have aroused the suspicion of Federal Marshals. We find out that Hyde has been forced to “retire” from his dangerous mission and bought a small farm just outside of town. His farming is not successful, however. He has broken his leg and is unable to work. Addison makes a plan to run away from Master White. He knows that his life is in danger. He describes his efforts to try to get others to go with him. He heads north alone.

When Addison arrives at the Hyde cabin, Udney and his daughter Amanda are arguing about Udney’s wish to continue to help slaves move north. Amanda has moved in with Udney to help him while he recovers. Amanda feels that his efforts are exposing him to too much danger. Udney is oblivious. Addison interrupts and Udney welcomes him over Amanda’s objections. Addison is anxious to keep moving, but Udney tells Addison  that he is as safe in Mechanicsburg as he would be farther North in Ohio. Addison is overjoyed, but Udney continues to explain that because of the Fugitive Slave Act, he isn’t really safe in any Northern state. Udney is disgusted by the hypocritical system of justice that outlaws slavery but allows blacks to be arrested and returned to the South. Udney asks Addison to stay for a short time and help him on the farm. Amanda objects but Addison agrees.

Addison and Amanda are immediately drawn to each other. Amanda learns that Addison left a wife and family in Kentucky. He has said he will write as soon as he is settled. She gets Addison a pen and paper, but discovers he doesn’t know how to read or write. She resolves to teach him and gives him a gift, a copy of The Columbian Orator, a book of famous speeches. Addison expresses his appreciation, and explains to the audience how the power of reading has opened up new worlds.

In the meantime, Daniel White has discovered that Addison is in Mechanicsburg. Udney learns of the danger and tells Addison it is time to go, but it is too late.

The cabin is surrounded by Federal Marshals under the direction of Daniel White in the middle of the night and they burst in. Addison is sleeping in an upstairs loft. At first, Udney denies the presence of the slave, but soon he is found out. Addison has a gun and threatens to shoot anyone who climbs up the ladder to try and arrest him. The confrontation becomes a standoff. Amanda runs out of the cabin and while Daniel White tries to decide what to do, she runs to Mechanicsburg and assembles a group of over 100 citizens who gather outside. They make it clear to Daniel White that they are there to rescue Addison and he departs.

COVID Notice:
Under current CDC guidelines, masks are OPTIONAL for this performance. As circumstances and guidelines change, masking status may also change — check back periodically for updates to this page.

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