1619: The Journey of a People, The Musical

A Road Scholar Program by Ted Williams III

1619 Image Still 1

Jun 18, 2024


Elgin Public Museum
225 Grand Blvd
Elgin, IL 60120



On August 20, 1619, 20 enslaved Africans arrived in Jamestown, Virginia. The 400-year journey that followed would change a nation and the world. 1619: The Journey of a People is a dynamic theatrical and lecture experience featuring Playwright, Professor, and Performer Ted Williams III.

This one-man show packs generations of history into an abridged performance. 1619: The Journey of a People commemorates the struggles, recognizes the heroes, and critically analyzes the American journey towards freedom and equality. From the beginning of American slavery to the Reconstruction, the Great Migration, the Civil Rights Era, and modern movements for justice, Williams uses history to explain America’s current reality.

1619 Ted Williams III 1619 program

Since the world premiere in August of 2019, the production has been performed over a dozen times throughout Chicago and at various locations including Elmhurst College, Wheaton College, and Hampton University. It has been featured in the Chicago Defender, Daily Herald, WCIU’s The Jam, V103’s Chicago Speaks with Darryl Dennard, WVON’s Real Talk Real People, and on Fox32 Chicago. 1619: The Journey of a People was funded by the Illinois Arts Council and nominated for the 2020 August Wilson Award for Best Writing of Musical by the Black Theater Alliance Awards.


There is limited handicapped parking at the rear of the Museum (North side). Anyone preferring to avoid the high front steps of the building may enter through the back door where an elevator is available to the main floor. The Museum is entirely accessible, including lower-level restrooms. 


This event is Free and Open to the public. For more information, please contact Sharry Blazier at blazier_s@cityofelgin.org.

Learn more about Ted Williams III, this program, and how to book it here.

Host Organization