'Thomas Jefferson,' 'Patrick Henry' To Debate At Baylor

  • News Photo 2941
    Bill Barker as Thomas Jefferson.
  • News Photo 2944
    Mark Greenough of Living History Associates will portray Patrick Henry during a visit to Baylor.
  • News Photo 2943
    Bill Barker as Thomas Jefferson.
  • News Photo 2942
    Bill Barker as Thomas Jefferson.
June 3, 2005

by Lori Fogleman (254) 710-6275

Character interpreters who portray two of the most notable voices of the American Revolution - Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry - will take center stage June 9 at Baylor University during their participation in Crossroads in American History, a joint project between the School of Education and department of history to help local educators develop the knowledge and skills to teach traditional American history in exciting and engaging ways.

Bill Barker of Colonial Williamsburg as "Thomas Jefferson" and Mark Greenough of Living History Associates as "Patrick Henry" will debate the issue of religious freedom from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, June 9, in the Mabee Theatre of the Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center. The presentation is free and open to the public.

A native of Philadelphia and graduate of Villanova University, Barker has portrayed Jefferson - his mannerisms, hobbies and even his handwriting - at Colonial Williamsburg since 1993. As a professional actor, director and producer, Barker has been cast as Jefferson in many different venues, including the musical "1776," and in programs on ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN, The History Channel and C-SPAN. He has performed as Jefferson at the White House, the Palace of Versailles and throughout the United States, Great Britain and France. He also has been featured as Jefferson in numerous magazines, from TIME to Southern Living.

Greenough is a co-founder and director of Living History Associates Ltd. of Richmond, Va. He has been a history interpreter at Richmond National Battlefield Park and Appomattox Court House National Historical Park and often presents living history programs at the Museum of the Confederacy, Jamestown Island and Yorktown. Greenough worked as the historical and technical advisor for the NBC television miniseries "Gore Vidal's Lincoln" and served as an adviser for the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of "The Love Letter" in 1997. He has also worked on various documentary films and historic site orientation videos. Greenough is a graduate of the College of William and Mary.

The historians' visit is one of the highlights of Baylor's "Teaching American History" Summer Institute, one of the initiatives supported by a nearly $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

More than 40 history and social studies teachers from throughout Central Texas will immerse themselves in American history from June 6-24 at Baylor's Mayborn Museum Complex, in an effort to demonstrate how comprehensive professional development affects high-quality teaching. In addition to lectures and workshops led by Baylor faculty and prominent U.S. historians, the institute's 42 Fellows will visit various museums in Central Texas. Since the first institute in 2004, the program has impacted more than 20,000 local students through their increased knowledge and achievement in American history.

"Teaching teachers is at the very heart of Baylor's historic mission," said Dr. J. Wesley Null, project director and assistant professor in the School of Education and the Honors College. "Last summer, 35 teachers participated in the institute, and, by all accounts, that institute was a great success. This year, 42 teachers will participate, all of whom teach history or social studies in the Central Texas region. This grant is a fantastic opportunity for Baylor to connect with and serve the teachers and children in our local community."

For more information about the Jefferson-Henry debate, contact Dr. Julie A. Sweet, assistant professor of history, at (254) 710-6303 or Julie_Sweet@baylor.edu. For information about the Teaching American History summer institute, contact Null at (254) 710-6120 or Wesley_Null@baylor.edu.

Looking for more news from Baylor University?