The tale of what happened on a December night nearly 150 years ago resonated with Donald Lovette.
A Liberty County native and resident — and a long-serving member of its board of commissioners — Lovette had heard of what happened to several hundred freed slaves at the Ebenezer Creek after Union forces cut the pontoon bridge across the swollen tributary until the last few years.
But the fate of those slaves, pinned between surging creek and a charging Confederate cavalry troop fast on their heels, led Lovette to pen a play about what transpired that night.
“Being a history lover, I’ve been very intrigued by the story,” he said.
The play, “Ebenezer Creek: One More River to Cross,” will be presented Feb. 25 at 5 p.m. at Rincon’s Mt. Carmel Deliverance Center.
Lovette, also a playwright, said he wanted to stage the play near where it happened. He and Bishop Julian Jones, pastor of Mt. Carmel, are friends as well. Lovette talked with several people around the county for a potential venue before choosing Mt. Carmel.
“I just feel it needs to be done,” Lovette said.
Lovette first staged the play last March in Liberty County.
“The play has done very well,” he said. “It has been very well received.”
When the marker for the incident was dedicated, it struck a chord with Lovette, who decided then to bring the tale to life.
“There are many untold stories, especially of African-American history,” he said. “This is a story that happened in our region. It is tied into the Civil War.”
Working through Jones and Rincon city planner LaMeisha Kelly, whom Lovette knew from her days working at Hinesville City Hall, Lovette began to think about bringing the play to Effingham. The play, he said, isn’t accusatory in tone but rather tries to let the audience know more about the slaves’ fight for freedom.
“I started to do a little research and said, ‘this is a story that needs to be told,’” he said. “I generally write about Liberty County African-American history. But this story was so moving that anybody can embrace this story. Now that we’ve done it in Liberty County, it was time to take it home.
“Those folks who drowned, their voices will never be heard. But through this play, they can be heard. Through this play, they did survive. They did have a deep, abiding quest for freedom. Though a lot of them drowned, their voices must be heard today. They were just trying to be free.”
For more information, visit Love-It-Productions.com or find it on Facebook.