Harrison Family History Sets The Stage
In honor of Black History Month, we are proud to share the family history of our Senior Companion Program client, Ms. Sarah Harrison, age 91.
Ms. Harrison’s great grandparents, Thomas and Isabela Harrison, escaped slavery via the fabled underground railroad. The legendary Harriet Tubman herself led them to freedom in Canada. Safe in the north, the Harrison’s had several children including Sarah’s grandparents and her great uncle, Richard B. Harrison.
Richard B. Harrison
As a child, Richard B. Harrison went to work as a newsboy near the local theater, where he would sneak in to see plays and other presentations. As a young adult, he moved to Detroit, where he worked at menial jobs while studying acting.
Eventually, he grew to become one of the leading African American dramatic stage actors of the Twentieth Century. He developed a program of dramatic readings from Shakespeare and other American and English poets and traveled through the United States and Canada. He played the role of “De Lawd” in Marc Connelly’s Pulitzer Prize winning play “The Green Pastures” on stage for 1,657 performances. He also taught theater arts at North Carolina A & T College in Greensboro, N.C.
In 1931, at the age of sixty-five, the NAACP awarded him their highest honor, the Spingarn Award in recognition of his work. Time Magazine featured him on the cover of their March 4, 1935, issue. When he passed away in 1935, fifteen thousand people of all backgrounds came to pay their respects at his funeral services.
The Senior Source
The Senior Source is proud to share life experiences like Ms. Harrison’s in order to acknowledge how far we’ve come and how far we still must go. We are deeply committed to creating and promoting a diverse, inclusive, and equitable community that is welcoming and authentically representative of those we serve. This commitment helps cultivate a sense of belonging for our staff, board, volunteers, and clients; and it allows us to best meet our mission of improving the quality of life of older adults in the greater Dallas area.