Alison Moore and Phil Lancaster
Novelist and humanities scholar Alison Moore and singer/songwriter Phil Lancaster will present “Riders on the Orphan Train” at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 17 at The Clarion at Brazosport College.
This free presentation will combine audio-visual elements, historical fiction and musical ballads into a collaborative performance that brings the Orphan Train movement, a largely-unknown chapter in American history, to public awareness.
The one-and-a-half-hour multi-media presentation, “Riders on the Orphan Train,” tells the story of the 250,000 orphans and unwanted children who were put on trains in New York between 1854 and 1929 and sent all over the United States to be given away.
The presentation will be comprised of original music, an audio-visual presentation of archival photographs and interviews with two surviving orphan train riders — a man who came to Berryville, AR and a woman who came to Greenville, TX — and will be followed by a dramatic recitation from Moore’s novel "Riders on the Orphan Train.”
After the presentation, Moore and Lancaster will lead an informal discussion about the origin and demise of the largest child migration in history and the part it played in the formation of the American Dream. The human struggle to belong, to define one's self in the place we call home is exemplified in the stories of these children that have shaped all of our lives.
The performance will conclude with dialog between presenters and audience on the historical and social significance of the Orphan Trains. The presenters will take questions from the audience and will invite relatives and acquaintances of Orphan Train Riders to share their stories.
Admission to “Riders on the Orphan Train” is free and no tickets are necessary. For more information about the presentation, call The Clarion Box Office at 979.230.3156 or the Lake Jackson Historical Museum at 979.297.1570.
“Riders on the Orphan Train” is sponsored by The Clarion at Brazosport College and the Lake Jackson Historical Association. This presentation is also supported in part by a grant from Humanities Texas.