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History Wednesday programs returning to St. Albans church

Beginning at 9:30 a.m. June 19 and continuing each week through July 25, History Wednesday programs, featuring area performers in costume and character of past historical figures, will be presented at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in St. Albans.

Characters from the History Alive! series by the West Virginia Humanities Council will be participating in three of the programs.

“This is our fifth year and it’s grown every year,” History Wednesday organizer and spokesperson Brenda Thacker said last week. “We had between 50 and 70 people at all of the performances last year.”

The cost to attend is $5 per week or $25 for all performances.

This year’s schedule of History Wednesday speakers includes:

• June 19: Christopher Payne (1845-1925), the African American son of freed slaves who was a medic, founded the Second Baptist Church in Hinton, was editor of the largest black newspaper in West Virginia and was appointed ambassador to Liberia by President Benjamin Harrison. Payne will be portrayed by Phil Washington.

• June 26: Charles Schulz (1922-2000), the cartoonist best known as the creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip. This History Alive! appearance, sponsored by the state Humanities Council, will be performed by James Froemel.

• July 3: Sudnar Tanner, a local character who lived with her husband, Samuel, under a rock during the winter of 1812-13 near Spencer. The Tanners were avoiding being drafted to fight the War of 1812 and nearly starved 100 miles from other settlers. Rebecca Park will portray Sudnar Tanner.

• July 10: Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973), the Hillsboro-born author of “The Good Earth” and the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize and the Pulitzer Prize. She will be portrayed by Karen Vuranch.

• July 17: Minnie Pearl (1912-1996), the entertainer created by Sarah Colley while touring with a theater company and used to promote performances. In 1940, Colley performed as Minnie Pearl at the Grand Ole Opry and she became a legend in country entertainment. Denise Giardina will portray her in this History Alive! performance.

• July 24: Doug Riley will portray Mark Twain (1835-1910), the pen name of Samuel Clemens, 19th century author and humorist.

Registration will start at 9 a.m. for the performances. Refreshments will be available after each program, which concludes with an activity and evaluation for and by the audiences.

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church is located at 405 B St. in St. Albans. Call 304-727-1477 or 304-542-4161 if you have questions or wish to reserve a seat at any or all of the History Wednesday programs. Those interested in attending can also contact St. Mark’s Episcopal at 304-722-4284 or office@stmarks-stalbans.com or visit the website, www.stmarks-stalbans.com.

Metro reporter Clint Thomas can be reached at cthomas@cnpapers.com or by calling 304-348-1232.

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