The Journey of Fortune’s Bones: The Manumission Requiem


The Seattle Theatre Group (STG) produces exciting, relevant and high-quality performance based community events. We invited Martín Sepulveda,  STG program manager, to guest blog about the upcoming performance of Fortune’s Bones. 

My name is Martín Sepulveda, and as a member of the Seattle Theatre Group team, I’m delighted to have been appointed producer for FORTUNE’S BONES: The Manumission Requiem, happening February 22, at STG’s Paramount Theatre, 4 PM.  My journey of learning about this project has been interesting and self-reflective.

When I first heard about it, I learned that Fortune was an enslaved African who died in colonial Connecticut, in 1798, while in service to Dr. Preserved Porter. Upon his death, Dr. Porter assumed possession of Fortune’s body, preserving his bones for research and public display, all without permission from Fortune or his family. I was not excited to revisit the tough and hurtful elements of slavery, however, after learning more about this program, I am now extremely excited about experiencing this form of tribute to Fortune.  While slavery still conjures much pain, we are also able to use examples like Fortune’s life, to grasp healing.

This program has presented Seattle an opportunity to engage in constructive dialogue and explore topics about ethics, science, healthcare, humanity, and rights.  That the program we are  presenting is inspired by Fortune’s life and death, and articulated through artistic expression of music, song, and drumming, and is in some ways an extension of African traditions like those surrounding New Orleans style funerals, we get a more soulful glimpse into our history.

Bringing together over 100 voices, 8 soloists, an African drum ensemble, and a 40+ piece orchestra, is inspiring to me as an emerging arts leader.  I’m very excited to welcome our community to share this uplifting, educational, and inspirational event.

Sunday, February 22, 2015
Doors at 3:00 pm, Show at 4:00 pm
911 Pine Street, Seattle, WA 98101
The event is FREE but you must RSVP in advance to attend.

Related Events:
February 16 & 17: Eva Abrams/Rainwater Storytelling – a one woman performance, Northwest African American Museum. Eva is on 4Culture’s Touring Arts Roster.
February 19: Until the Well Runs Dry Film Screening – Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center

– Find  a complete listing of events at the Seattle Fortune’s Bones Project website.