Chautauqua History Comes Alive programs have been presented by the Spartanburg County Library System since 2011. They are busily working on programing for the 2020 season which will be announced soon with tentative dates of June 15 – 18, 2020. In the meantime, take a look at what they presented in the recent June Festival. (Below photo of Malcolm X visiting Spartanburg this past June.)

Duel wits with Alexander Hamilton

Debate democracy with Andrew Jackson

Witness the end of Camelot with Jackie Kennedy

Struggle for human rights with Malcolm X

Meet four amazing people at the center of a Revolution – hear their stories – ask them how their world changed. You’ll laugh – you’ll cry – you’ll have lots of questions. And they’ll be answered. Bring your stories. Share your experiences. Get inspired. Because it’s not just history – it’s personal.

All Spartanburg performances will be held at the Headquarters Library in the Barrett Room, . Free parking is available in the lot behind the library. | MAP

All performances are free and open to the public.

Andrew Jackson | portrayed by Larry Bounds

Monday June 17 at 7pm – Headquarters Library, Spartanburg, FREE

Music: Pam and Fred Stoll

Andrew Jackson (the only president with an entire Age named for him) stormed into politics the champion of the Common Man (not, of course to include women, slaves or Native Americans.)

He added vast regions of the South to the US, but it was land brutally wrested from Native Americans. He was the champion of the common white man, who owned over 100 black Americans. He was the Founder of the Democratic Party, whose enemies accused him of being an American Napoleon.

As volatile as the Age of Jackson was, his fight for the rights of the average white male pointed the way for those excluded to seek rights of their own. The women, the slave, the free black and the Native American – rose up to demand Jacksonian Democracy be extended to them. The Jacksonian Era was nothing short of another American Revolution.


Jackie Kennedy | Portrayed by Leslie Goddard

Tuesday June 18 at 7pm – Headquarters Library, Spartanburg, FREE

Music by Elias Latto

One of the most photographed women of the 20th century, Jackie Kennedy mesmerized foreign leaders and the American people with her style and sophistication, creating a White House renowned for its beauty and culture. At the same time, her youth, privileged upbringing and highly public marriages made her instant tabloid fodder.

In her whirlwind ten-year marriage in the public eye, she gave birth to two children, miscarried, and bore a stillborn daughter and a two-day-old son who died just three months before her husband was assassinated. Her husband’s murder left her soaked in his blood and brains. At JFK’s funeral she bore the weight of the nation’s grief. Her widow’s weeds became the symbol of our pain.

There is something mysterious and private about this very public person. Was she mythmaker of her husband’s legacy or shell shock PTSD survivor? How did America survive a decade of unprecedented political assassination and unpopular war? How did democracy survive the Revolutionary ‘60s?


Malcolm X | Portrayed by Darrick Johnson

Wednesday June 19  at 7pm – Headquarters Library, Spartanburg, FREE

Music: Angela Easterling & Brandon Turner

Malcolm X is still seen as one of the most controversial figures – from one of the most highly charged periods in American history. His assassination and those of JFK, MLK and RFK rocked the nation. There is nothing more powerful and revolutionary than a martyr’s cause.

Alive Malcolm X was a polarizing figure who both energized and divided African Americans, while frightening and alienating whites. Now, fifty-six years after his death, we are still coming to grips with the complexity and power of his revolutionary message.


Alexander Hamilton | Portrayed by Ian Rose

Thursday June 20 at 7pm – Headquarters Library, Spartanburg, FREE

Music by Wendi Arms & Mildred Roche

Seen the musical? Read the Book? Now at Chautauqua you can personally duel wits with Alexander Hamilton, the Founding Father who mastered the arts of wit, war, and wealth, long before becoming the subject of Broadway’s Hamilton: An American Musical.

An illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, Hamilton epitomizes the American dream — poor immigrant makes good. He went on to help win the Revolutionary War and ratify the Constitution, create the country’s financial system, charm New York’s most eligible ladies, and land his face on our $10 bill.

What did Alexander Hamilton ever do besides get shot in a duel by Aaron Burr? Why did Adams and Jefferson hate him so much? Disputes that arose during America’s first decades continued through American history to our present day. The duel of wits of our Founding Fathers fought illustrates that after the American Revolutionary War was won – the real Revolution began.


The Spartanburg County Public Libraries have generously sponsored Spartanburg Chautauqua History Comes Alive performances at the Headquarters Library since 2011.