Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years

January 27 – February 19

A Play by Emily Mann
Adapted from the book by Sarah L. Delany and A. Elizabeth Delany
with Amy Hill Hearth
Directed by Mary B. Robinson

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Scenic Design by Jason Simms
Costume Design by Sarita Fellows
Lighting Design by Dennis Parichy
Sound Design by Christopher Colucci
Video/Projection Design by Christopher Ash
Wig Design by Cookie Jordan

Check out the PTC Having Our Say feature on Channel 6abc! Click here to view.



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Celebrate the story of a century.

103-year-old Sadie Delany and 101-year-old Bessie Delany welcome us into their home to share an endearing, true story. Like molasses and vinegar, the Delany sisters have always been opposites; but together, these daughters of a former slave grew up in the Jim Crow South, lived in Harlem during its renaissance, and had professional careers as a teacher and a dentist, respectively. While making dinner to remember their father’s birthday, the two sisters tell us of the last century as they lived it – through stories of racial injustice and personal strife, unified by faith, family, and time.

Best enjoyed by ages 10 and up.

Runs approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission.



Pictured: Perri Gaffney, Cherene Snow. Photography by Mark Garvin.



Take a musical trip back to the Delany Sisters’ time. This Spotify playlist, created by Having Our Say at Philadelphia Theatre Company’s Sound Designer, Christopher Colucci, was inspired by the artists Sadie and Bessie loved and even mentioned in their memoir. Click to listen now.


Aside from Sadie and Bessie, you can learn about the other inspiring and influential ladies who may not have been in your history books. Oh, and these women also lived for over a century. Click here.

Upcoming Events

“Having Our Say” Art Exhibition with Mt. Airy Art Garage

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The Mt. Airy Art Garage (MAAG) opens 2017 with a special popup exhibition in partnership with Philadelphia Theatre Company’s production of Having Our Say. The exhibition will run January 27th to February 19th, with a Community Open House/Exhibition Opening on Saturday, February 4th from 4 pm to 8 pm, located at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre (480 South Broad St.)

This Mt. Airy Art Garage special exhibition seeks to further highlight empowerment through the collective experience of overcoming obstacles and barriers. Featuring works by local artists including Frank Burd, Melvin Chappell, Lucretia Coleman, Rob Cox, Tim Gibbon, Jennifer Hemenway, Ruth Joray, Daisy Langston Juarez, Arleen Olshan, Kathy Robinson, Gloria Rohlfs, Ellie Seif, Patricia Cousins Smith, and Carol Wisker, this exhibition provides a fine art platform focusing on themes of pride and empowerment even in tough times.

Through community partnerships and exhibitions such as the Having Our Say, the Mt. Airy Art Garage continues its mission to provide a communal space for creativity, collaboration, and self-actualization, while utilizing creative expression as an instrument for social change. Now more than ever, MAAG invites the community to have its say, visit the exhibition, and see this tremendous production.

[Resilience by Tim Gibbon]

[Women’s Liberation by Jen Hemenway]

[Photo by Melvin Chappell]

[Comfort by Carol Wisker]

[Citizens by Daisy Langston Juarez]

For more information visit: mtairyartgarage.org or call 215.242.5074. #MAAGPopsUp.

Have YOUR Say in a Story Circle with People’s State of the Union

Having Our Say Special Topics Discussion Panel

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A Brief History of the African American Genealogy Group

The African American Genealogy Group is dedicated to the encouragement of and support for genealogy research and serves the African-American community of Philadelphia and the Tri State area.

It was not until the middle years of the 19th century that most of our ancestors on this continent were freed from chattel slavery.  The twentieth century began a long painful journey to become whole again. Many African Americans were involved in family reunions and had begun seeking their lost relatives. With the success of Alex Haley’s saga, “Roots”, an avalanche of searchers emerged.

In Philadelphia, the newly organized African American Historical Museum at 7th and Arch Streets was flooded with requests for genealogical information.  Dr. Rowena Stewart, director of the museum at that time, asked archivist, Stan Arnold, to do what he could to assist with these requests.  He was besieged with calls for assistance in conducting genealogical research far beyond the museum’s capacity to help.

It was in September of 1988, that Carolyn Williams suggested to Stan Arnold that a genealogical group was needed in Philadelphia.  Later that fall, Stan informed Carolyn that the museum director, Dr. Rowena Stewart, was asking him to work on organizing a genealogy group under the auspices of the museum.  John Logan joined Stan Arnold and Carolyn Williams as the third member of the organizing group. Together, with Dr. Stewart, they founded the African American Genealogy Group referred to as AAGG.

Membership has steadily grown with the addition of both novice and advanced researchers. AAGG encourages members to become actively involved with the programs and committees of our organization. Meetings are held each month on the second Tuesday at 7 PM except July and August. The current meeting site is located at the First District Plaza, 3801 Market Street in Philadelphia. Those of all ethnic backgrounds and levels of genealogy experience are welcome to attend.

Speaker Bios

Dean Henry owns and operates Family Pearl, LLC (www.familypearl.com), which he founded in 2012 to conduct family research, locate and host family members, and record oral histories and digitize family photos. He serves as Technology Chair for the African American Genealogy Group (AAGG) and a member of its speakers bureau. Dean is a member of a number of other genealogical organizations including the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), the Afro American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS), the National Genealogical Society (NGS), the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP) and the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania (GSP). He has lectured on basic African American family research for AAGG, HSP, the University of Pennsylvania Black Alumni Society (BAS) and Alumni “Office Hours” webinar series, as well as at the inaugural The Genealogy Event conference in New York.

Adrienne G. Whaley is a history-lover and genealogist who has been researching her own family history for 15 years. Her roots include a member of the Civilian Conservation Corps, Alabama coal miners, Ohio steelworkers, and lots of Georgia farmers. Adrienne earned her Bachelor’s degree in African American Studies and her Master’s in Education, and has taught about genealogy, art, and history in settings from summer camps to museums. She is currently Manager of School Programs and Partnerships at the Museum of the American Revolution and Volunteer Coordinator for a partnership between the African American Genealogy Group and Historic Eden Cemetery.

Tyrone Brown is a resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania   and a family tree historian of over 35 years. He is a member of AAGG (African American Genealogy Group), The Historical Society of PA, The Legacy museum in Lynchburg, Virginia, and The Sons of the Spanish American War Veterans. Tyrone holds numerous certificates in genealogy from the NIGR (National Institute on Genealogical Research), the U. S. National Archives, The LDS Church, and more recently the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.  In 2007, Tyrone created a published index to the 1850 and 1860 U. S. Federal   Slave Schedules of Amherst County, Virginia (Heritage Books Inc.).  Today, Tyrone is working on a story based on an ancestor who accidentally lost his life at a railroad crossing in 1898.

Tell Your Story in a Story Booth with First Person Arts and PNC Arts Alive


Emily Mann Headshot 3-31-16Emily Mann is a multi-award-winning director and playwright in her 26th season as the Artistic Director and Resident Playwright of the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, NJ. Her plays and adaptations include Execution of JusticeStill Life (six OBIE Awards), Mrs. PackardThe House of Bernarda Alba, Meshugah, Uncle Vanya; and The Cherry Orchard.




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