“Unbought” taught the audience women’s history

Lurye Baxa, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Did I ever think I would learn more about women’s history from a one-woman show than I did in history class? No. But I did anyway. 

“Unbought” is the story of three African American women in history. The show took place on March 13 in the Ley Theater at 7:30 p.m. Music was done by the Core Ensemble, an educational musical group. The percussion was done by Michael Parola, the cello by Ju Young Lee and the piano by Mikael Darmanie. Acting was done by Tiffany Terrell, an actress, singer and musician. 

All music was written by African American musicians, which is just awesome in my opinion. 

Trigger warning: there will be discussions of sexual assault, racism, sexism, lynching and slavery. If this triggers you in any way, please do not read this story. 

The show began with the story of Ida B. Wells, an African American investigative journalist. She began her by writing articles about the disgusting and unwarranted lynching of Black people. Through her work, the number of lynchings lessened in the north.  

Her work did not end there. Wells also fought for women’s suffrage and was an early leader of the civil rights movement. She was also a founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. 

Her “Unbought” story follows her works and how she fell in love with her husband, Ferdinand. Her segment has power and even some humor. It is a powerful story about a working Black woman in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  

As I watched it, I felt empowered and inspired. If a woman was able to do so much for others during this time, then I can do the same now.  

The next story was about Sally Hemings, who was Thomas Jefferson’s slave and concubine. Her story is much more emotional. 

The segment follows Hemings as she joins the Jeffersons in France. There, she feels like a real free woman. She is given silk dresses and fancy accessories. She even gets paid. Then it falls apart. 

Hemings was 15-years-old when Jefferson took her on as a concubine. I will not lie, when Terrell acted out what Jefferson did to this young girl, I cried.  

Did I know Jefferson had a favorite slave named Sally? Yes. Did I know she was 15 when he forced himself onto her? No.  

Hemings ended up pregnant and wanted to stay in France, so she could stay a free woman. Slavery became illegal in France long before it did in America. Jefferson, of course, convinced her to stay with the promise to free her and her children once he died. 

Did that happen? No. Instead, Jefferson’s daughter Martha freed all of her father’s slaves. We love Martha. 

This entire story was so emotional and even beautiful in a way for me. It was about a slave finding her freedom and growing into a beautiful woman. Even with the parts that made me cry, I was able to recognize the beauty of freedom within this story. 

The final story was about Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman to be elected to Congress and to run for president. 

The story follows her life beginning in college when she found her love for debate and politics. During this time, she also met her husband Conrad, who she was completely in love with. Though, she was quite rude to him during their first date to scare him off. It didn’t work. 

She became a member of Congress and worked to feed orphans, less fortunate people and the homeless. She was a member of Congress for seven terms. 

Chisholm also ran for president. During this time, she received some hate from Black people for visiting a Republican white man who was shot and paralyzed. In the end, she came in fourth place for the Democratic party. 

This story, like the two before, was extremely empowering. I mean, this was a woman who had everybody against her. Whether it was because she was Black or a woman, people did not like her. But she kept going and she almost won. One day, I hope a woman does win. 

Terrell absolutely killed it in these roles. Even with how she changed her voice for each part, she was just amazing. She acted with power and respect. That’s all anyone could ask for these roles. 

“Unbought” was free and available to the public. My only complaint was I wish it was longer.