E-SU Welcomes 'Thomas Jefferson'
By Lois Holt
Special to The Pilot
Members of the Sandhills Branch of the English-Speaking Union will be stepping back in time at their Nov. 14 dinner meeting.
The occasion will be marked by the presence of "Mister" Thomas Jefferson, who is expected to arrive from his retirement home at Monticello, Va., earlier in the day.
After first appearing at Independence Hall in Philadelphia in 1984, guest speaker Bill Barker has mastered the art of impersonation in his portrayal of Jefferson, an American Founding Father, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, and the third president of the United States.
Since his initial performance as Jefferson in Colonial Williamsburg in the spring of 1993, Barker has evolved a repertoire of Jefferson presentations tailored to corporate and government audiences, as well as schools, societies and festivals.
While continuing to appear as Jefferson for the historic site and assisting in the development of Jefferson programs for the foundation, Barker has transformed himself into the man who served in the Continental Congress, as wartime governor of Virginia, and as the first United States secretary of state serving under President George Washington.
Elected president in what he called the Revolution of 1800, Jefferson oversaw the purchase of the vast Louisiana Territory from France and sent the Lewis and Clark expedition to explore the new West. His second term was tumultuous both at home with the failed treason trial of Vice President Aaron Burr and with Britain when the United States' trade and neutrality were challenged at sea.
Barker maintains his role. Although Jefferson held many public offices during his 40 years of public service, as a guest of E-SU he wishes simply to be addressed as "Mister" Thomas Jefferson.
Following dinner, he will address the English-Speaking Union with his experiences in public service and the principles of Democratic Republican government, especially his drafting of the Declaration of Independence.
The setting will be the year 1812.
It will be a presidential election year in which the American public will decide whether to re-elect their President, James Madison.
Fortifying his impersonation as Jefferson, Barker has performed at the White House, the Palace of Versailles and throughout the United States, Great Britain and France. He has also been featured as Jefferson in numerous magazines including Time, Atlantic, Southern Living and the Colonial Williamsburg Journal.
The Sandhills Branch of the English-Speaking Union is recognized for its scholarship support of local school programs, including the Shakespeare Competition and the Middle School Debates.
Monthly dinner meetings are held at the Country Club of North Carolina, and membership is open to the public.
For membership and program information, contact Hope Price at (910) 692-7727, or at hopewp @aol.com.
Contact Lois Holt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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