Actor & Playwright

Playwright, Poet & Educator

Author & Historian


November 18, 2021 | 7:30pm


Abraham H. Galloway (1837-1870) was a fiery young slave rebel, radical abolitionist, and Union spy from Southport, NC who rose out of bondage to become one of the most significant and stirring black leaders in the South during and after the Civil War. Galloway fought against slavery and injustice on the battlefield and within the ranks of the Union Army.

He also stood at the forefront of the African-American political movement, leading a historic delegation of black southerners to the White House to demand the full rights of citizenship, and later becoming one of the first black men elected to the North Carolina legislature. In the days leading to his election, he led militia patrols through the streets of Wilmington to counter the Ku Klux Klan’s attempts to block black voters and interfere with the election. Galloway’s long hidden story reveals a war unfamiliar to most of us.

This riveting portrait, based on the book of the same name by David Cecelski and adapted by playwright Howard Craft, illuminates Galloway’s life and deepens our insight into the Civil War and Reconstruction as experienced by African Americans in the South. In 2014 an historical marker dedicated to Galloway was placed near the corner of 3rd and Bladen Streets in Downtown Wilmington, one block from his home at the time of his death.


Mike Wiley 

Mike Wiley is a driving force in the development and promotion of documentary theatre. Mike’s plays span the worlds of Emmett Till, Henry “Box” Brown, Jackie Robinson and more. Each work is designed to inspire audiences to examine America’s racial history, teach the lessons of the past and encourage the application of these truths to the present.

Mike has a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was the 2010 and 2014 Lehman Brady Visiting Joint Chair Professor in Documentary Studies and American Studies at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Most recently he was named a Distinguished Alumni of UNC-Chapel Hill and was the recipient of the 2020 Ann Atwater Theater Award, recognizing Triangle theater artists whose body of work reflects and honors Ann Atwater’s lifelong commitment to activism for social justice.

Click here to learn more about Mike Wiley and Mike Wiley Productions


Dr. David Cecelski

Dr. David Cecelski has written several award-winning books and hundreds of articles about history, culture and politics on the North Carolina coast. His most recent book is The Fire of Freedom: Abraham Galloway and the Slaves’ Civil War (UNC Press, 2012). He divides his time between two places he loves deeply, Durham, N.C. and his family’s home place in Carteret County, N.C. His writing focuses passionately on telling stories from his little corner of the world that illuminate American history more broadly. Dr. Cecelski was recently the co-recipient (with Tim Tyson) of the N.C. Literary and Historical Association’s Crittenden Award for lifetime achievement.

Click here to learn more about Dr. David Cecelski


Howard Craft

Howard L. Craft is a father, husband, playwright, poet, essayist and arts educator. He is the author of two books of poems, Across The Blue Chasm (Big Drum Press 2000), and Raising the Sky (Jacar Press 2016). His poetry also appears in Home is Where: An Anthology of African-American Poets from the Carolinas, edited by Kwame Dawes. His essays have appeared in The Paris Review and have been included in The Routledge Companion to African American Theatre (Routledge Press 2019).

He is the author of several plays including: Freight: The Five Incarnations of Able Green, a New York Times Critic Pick for March 2015; Calypso and the Midnight MaraudersOrange Light, and The Jade City Chronicles Volume 1: The Super Spectacular Badass Herald M. F. Jones. He is the creator of the first African-American super hero radio serial: The Jade City Pharaoh. Craft is a recipient of the North Carolina Playwriting Fellowship, and a two winner of the NCCU New Play Project.

As an arts educator Craft works as a creative writing instructor for Mike Wiley Productions and is the current Piller Professor of the Practice at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill for the Writing for the Stage and Screen program.

Pre-Performance Recommended Reading

Two of Dr. Cecelski’s books, The Fire of Freedom: Abraham Galloway and the Slaves’ Civil War and Democracy Betrayed, are available from McIntyre’s Books.

Dr. Cecelski’s essay, Summer of the Red Shirts, is available.