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“Keeping the Light: The Story of the Bravery, Heroism and Courage of African American Lighthouse Keepers and Lifesaving Service” as told by Harriet Tubman

COST: [$35 for Museum Members; $50 for members of the public]
Organizer: Santa Barbara Maritime Museum

In honor of Black History Month, which begins on February 1, the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum (SBMM) will present two showings of “Keeping the Light: The Story of the Bravery, Heroism and Courage of African American Lighthouse Keepers and Lifesaving Service” as told by Harriet Tubman, portrayed by actor, director, and producer Christine Dixon, on Wednesday, February 1, 2023. The first performance from 3:30-5:30 pm is designed for children, and the second performance from 7:00-9:00 pm is for adults. Both shows will tell the stories of African American lighthouse keepers as well as explore Tubman’s own history and that of Captain Richard Etheridge, who became the first African American to command a United States Life Saving station in 1880. Following each performance there will be additional time for questions.  Cost is $35 for museum members, and $50 for members of the public. Tickets at: https://sbmm.org/santa-barbara-event/. Become a member at https://sbmm.org.

Of this special event, SBMM’s Executive Director Greg Gorga says, “This is an important program for several reasons. First and foremost, it fits with the museum’s goals of educating and engaging the community and celebrating the history and cultural diversity of coastal California. Not only does it kick-off the start of Black History month, but it also coincides with the 167th anniversary of the lighting of the Pt. Conception Lighthouse lens on February 1, 1856.”

About Chris Dixon

Chris Dixon is an award-winning actress best known for portraying Tubman in the short film Era and in one-woman dramatic performances. For the last ten years, Dixon has been booking, directing, and portraying Harriet Tubman in what was supposed to be a four-contract performance of the one-woman show “Harriet Tubman Herself.” The original concept for the show was developed by Hollywood book and theater critic Morna Murphy Martell, the songs were composed by Ralph Martell, and the original costume was created by the late designer and hair stylist Keith Benedict. That initial limited run has continued for over ten years and more than 690 performances across 200 cities, 28 states, two countries, and one national park, garnering her numerous awards along the way. Dixon’s shows have had her portraying Tubman at various stages in her life and include her singing many well-known spirituals associated with the Underground Railroad.

About taking on the persona of Harriet Tubman, Dixon has said, “Physically, I feel like I become her during the show. Her great grandnieces tell me that it’s like I am channeling her.”

The 3:00 pm performance at SBMM also has a special significance for Dixon: It will be her 700th performance.

Now a member of SAG-AFTRA, the New York Women in Film & TV, the Television Academy, and African American Women in Cinema, Dixon has won 15 awards, including the New York Women in Film and TV’’s Best Actress of 2020 for her portrayal of Tubman, the National Council of Negro Women award, the City Artist Corps Award, and the Harriet Tubman Legacy Award.

In the summer of 2022, she performed “Harriet Tubman Herself” to packed houses at the historic Off-Broadway Theatre, and she has recently worked on Amazon’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith with Donald Glover as Childish Gambino, Space Cadet with Emma Roberts, Front Room with Brandy Norwood, and From Scratch starring Zoe Saldana.  Dixon is featured in Megan Thee Stallion’s Nike commercial, currently on YouTube and cable networks, and can also be seen starring in the upcoming Cricket commercial, due to be released in February 2023. When she isn’t performing on stage, in films, and commercials, Dixon works with the New York Police Department patrolling the streets of Brooklyn as an auxiliary police officer and enjoys scuba diving in Honduras where she has taught English and voice lessons.

These performances of  “Keeping the Light: The Story of the Bravery, Heroism and Courage of African American Lighthouse Keepers and Lifesaving Service” were made possible by the generous support of Donna Weinstein, George H. and Olive J. Griffiths Charitable Foundation, and Rita Serotkin.

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