Liberty Belles

A story from every point of Liberty's crown.

Inspired by the tales told to her by her grandmother, actress/writer Anne Pasquale decided to create a program based on the stories of the women who made us Americans. Through folk and factual tales, this program helps children celebrate their cultural diversity as well as their common heritage. Whether their ancestors arrived here by ocean liner or slave ship, or crossed a land bridge as the Indians did some thousand years ago, they are reminded that they all are Americans.

Liberty Belles invites them to take the journey their grandmothers did. To be part of the voyage. To follow their ancestors' steps as they bid goodbye to their homelands and come to escape famine, war, and prejudice, or are abducted and enslaved, or are lured by tales of gold, and finally make a fresh start in a strange new country called America.

Curriculum/Program Objectives

  1. To instill pride and curiosity in one's own and other Americans' cultural and ancestral backgrounds.
  2. To emphasize the shared American immigrant experience and encourage tolerance.
  3. To discuss women as powerful historical figures and bring to light several American heroines.
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An African tribe located in Ghana. Harriett Tubman's great great grandfather was said to have been an Ashanti warrior.
Drinking Gourd
A term the African culture used when referring to the constellation of the Big Dipper.
Espinel, Luisa
The daughter of a Mexican immigrant. Her father Federico Ronstadt migrated from Sonora in 1885 to learn the trade of a carriage maker and formed the locally famous Club Filarmonico. The aunt of the famous pop singer Linda Ronstadt, this woman was yet another Ronstadt superstar: having studied in Spain and Mexico she made a career of singing the songs, dancing the folkloric dances and telling the stories of her Spanish heritage. Later in life she would publish Caciones de me Padre (Songs of my Father), a family treasure which would then later be handed down and re-released by her niece Linda.
Ellis Island
The site of a former Naval arsenal that became an immigrant reception center, located at the southernmost tip of Manhattan.
An Hispanic celebration.
A person who migrates or moves from another country and sets up permanent residence.
Kente Cloth
Colorful cloth of the Ashanti People.
Lazarus, Emma
The young Russian woman who wrote "The New Colossus," the poem which lies at the base of the Statue of Liberty and begins "Give me your tired, your poor..."
Freedom from control, interference, obligation, and/or restriction.
The flat sandstone used by the Mexicans to grind corn or wheat.
Mott, Clara
A fictional Quaker character drawn from the lives of various Quaker women such as Prudence Crandell, Laura M. Towne, and Sarah F. Smiley, who devoted their lives to the education of African-Americans during a time prior to and during the Civil war, when strict laws were in place that would imprison or cause harm to anyone who did so.
Statue of Liberty
A gift from France dedicated in 1886, this famous lady stands 151 feet and 1 inch high in Manhattan's harbor, and lights the way for countless Americans.
Tubman, Harriet
The very brave African-American woman who escaped to freedom from a Maryland plantation in 1849 and, one year later, assumed the position of conductor on the Underground Railroad (a series of paths and hiding places, run by white and African-American abolitionists, that led slaves out of the South across to freedom in the North). Despite the $40,000 reward slave owners offered for her capture, Miss Tubman during her career was often referred to as "General Tubman" and "Moses" because of her daring rescues, and she led some 300 slaves, including her own parents, to freedom.
Vanelli, Theresa
An Italian immigrant whose father was an innkeeper and whose mother died when Theresa was only three years old. She journeyed to America in 1902 and wed a Mr. Angelo Sauro in 1903. Her marriage was pre-arranged -- she had known Angelo for only three days before being married to him for 75 years. She was a devout Catholic, a fine storyteller, and a wonderful grandmother. Anne Pasquale is her granddaughter.
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Questions for Discussion and Classroom Activities

  1. To illustrate how difficult life might have been for the first Americans, ask one student to communicate with another English-speaking student using only gibberish.
  2. Pose the question: How many of you have ever moved from another state, country, or neighborhood? List difficulties and benefits of the transition. Compare that with the slaves' or immigrants' experience.
  3. Pose the question: How many students are American-born citizens? If some are not, have those from a foreign land describe their first impressions and/or expectations of American life.
  4. Have all the students bring in an article of clothing, a story, and a favorite family dish from their culture of origin for a "Classroom Cultural Day."
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Davison, Michael Worth, ed. Everyday Life Through The Ages. New York: Reader's Digest

Hamilton, Virginia. The People Could Fly. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1985

Hartmamm, Edward G. American Immigration. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications Co., 1979

McGovern, Ann. Wanted Dead Or Alive: The True Story Of Harriet Tubman. New York: 1965

Morrison, Joan, and Zabusky, Charlotte Fox. American Mosaic. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1980

Patterson, Lillie. Meet Miss Liberty. New York: The Macmillan Co., 1962

Ronstadt, Edward F. Borderman (Memoirs of Federico Jose Maria Rondstadt). New Mexico: The University of New Mexico Press, 1993

Sauro, Alfred. Nana and Papa. An unpublished work

Selleck, Linda B. The Gentle Invaders (Quaker Women Educators and Racial Issues During the Civil War and Reconstruction). Richmond, IN: Friends United Press, 1995

Shapiro, Mary J. Ellis Island. New York:Macmillan Publishing Co., 1991

Sterling, Dorothy. The Story of Harriet Tubman Freedom Train. New York, Scholastic Inc., 1954

Williams, Brian. Guide to New Mexico. New York: Highlights For Children, 1995

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What they say about...Liberty Belles

"The students and faculty were captivated by your charismatic storytelling through acting, music and imagery." - Diane Battersby, Music Teacher and Cultural Arts Coordinator, Riverdale Public School

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Artists' Information

Anne PasqualeAnne Pasquale (actress & playwright) is presently a member of The Actors Studio. She trained at LAMDA and the New York School of the Arts. She has appeared on TV in: As The World Turns and Search for Tomorrow. In Great Britain she performed a range of roles from Viola in Twelfth Night to Sarah Goddard, a turn of the century Rhode Island feminist. Some of her New York stage credits include: The New Dramatist's Three Sisters, Lincoln Center’s A View from the Bridge, Theatre of the Open Eye’s Birdbath, The 78th Street Theatre Lab’s Ruffian on the Stair, and Paradise Lost at The Actors Studio. In addition, Ms. Pasquale creates and tours her repertoire of Living History Programs for audiences of all ages in venues along the East Coast. Recent appearances include: Nellie at The NHHC Chautauqua, Liberty Belles at The Yale University Museum and Deborah Sampson at The John Jay Homestead.
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Submit Your Story!

Like our country, this program is ever-changing and we'd very much like your students to become part of it! The following is a guideline should they wish to submit their own ancestral stories for inclusion in our next Liberty Belles program.

Your Name: ______________________________
Your Age: _________________________
Your Class and school: _________________________________________________
Contact phone #: _______________________________
Where did your mother's family live before coming to America?______________________________
Where did you father's family live before coming to America? ______________________________________
Where were you born? ___________________________________________________

Please relate one or many true stories about your family's journey to America. Try to include as many details as you can, such as dates, names of the people involved, people's ages in the story, and their relationship to you. Stories may revolve around any theme, but here are a few examples:

  1. A holiday tradition that dates back to your homeland.
  2. Why your name is what it is.
  3. The story behind a particular piece of clothing and/or furniture that is in your family.

If chosen, we'll notify you immediately! Please submit all tales to:

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