January 23, 2020
Oklahoma History Center to Present James Armistead Lafayette for Colonial Days
OKLAHOMA CITY — As a part of this year’s Colonial Day event, the Oklahoma History Center is honored to present Colonial Williamsburg’s Stephen Seals in a portrayal of James Armistead Lafayette. James was born an enslaved Virginian in New Kent County and won his freedom for his service as a double agent during the American Revolution. The program will be offered Thursday, February 6, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Chesapeake Event Center at the Oklahoma History Center. There is no reserved seating, so early arrival is recommended. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $10 for Oklahoma Historical Society members and $20 for nonmembers. Tickets may be purchased by calling 405-522-0765. The Oklahoma History Center is located at 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive in Oklahoma City.
During the war James probably spent time in Williamsburg, where his owner, William Armistead, was helping to manage military supplies. In 1781 James was pressed into service under the Marquis de Lafayette, who was leading patriot forces against Lord Cornwallis’s army in Virginia. James infiltrated the British army as a servant for Cornwallis. He reported to the Marquis de Lafayette that Cornwallis moved British forces from Portsmouth to Yorktown, valuable intelligence that helped pave the way for the siege of Yorktown that effectively ended the war. He also supplied Cornwallis with false information provided by Lafayette as misdirection.
Stephen Seals started his professional career as a freelance actor traveling the country performing and directing theater for 14 years before being hired at Colonial Williamsburg. Seals started his time at Colonial Williamsburg Foundation ten years ago as a first-person actor/interpreter and was also a supervisor of the unit for three years before becoming the manager of program development for African American and Religion Interpretation for the foundation. He is currently portraying Nation Builder James Lafayette, as well as serving as a community outreach liaison and program developer for the foundation.
The Oklahoma History Center is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society and is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, National Archives and is an accredited member of the American Alliance of Museums. The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory.org.