Occupy Philadelphia 2019
Picture this: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 28th, 1777. The British have occupied and taken over the city by order of the Crown. The townsfolk are up in arms in an outrage that they're subjected to martial law. The State House in which the Declaration of Independence was adopted has now been converted into a prison, and there are soldiers everywhere!
However, through the crowd of angry patriots are loyalists who are relieved to see the red coats and hope that not only do they stay for as long as they please, but to also join them and leave Philadelphia behind when the British make their next move.
This was the concept of the weekend's Occupied Philadelphia event at the Museum of the American Revolution. Many reenactors from all over the East Coast participated in this reenactment and interpretation. While historically the British occupied the town for several months, we managed to compile it to just 3 days.
I had the privilege of reprising my character "Charlotte Carter", who during this scenario was an enslaved young woman that sought the opportunity for freedom when the British arrived. While her master was entertaining Patriotic friends at the City Tavern nearby, she slipped away and quickly grabbed her father (not pictured) and hurried over to Franklin's Court to pledge their allegiance to the Crown; not only did this ensure their protection within the British Army as camp followers, but also secured their freedom.
Scenarios such as this, did in fact happen. Just as with the Dunmore Proclamation in Virginia, this occupation was the perfect opportunity in which some slaves chose the side of freedom by joining the British by any means necessary. Another example would be "Joe" (portrayed by Joel Cook). Joe was already a free man but still wanted to seize the opportunity to work for the British not just for pay but to make sure that he stayed free. He was enlisted as a sailor, as many men did; second to becoming a soldier.
|Don't let the look fool you. We're glad the British are here|
|The Recruitment Center at Franklin Square: Pledge your Loyalty to the King and join the Military|
|My signed Declaration of Loyalty of the King|
Throughout the day, when I wasn't interpreting to the public, I explored the other 3 designated areas in Philadelphia where the Museum had set up for the event: Franklin Square, City Tavern, and Carpenter's Hall. While sadly I didn't get to take all of the photos I wanted of each place and their ongoings (had to keep my phone hidden most of the time), this is what I was able get.
|British encampment behind the City Tavern|
Around 3pm, in the "town square" there was a commotion! One of the townspeople was apprehended and arrested for stealing produce from one of the sellers! The man was searched and then sent off to the gaol (only to be released to do the scenario all over again); later on a couple of individuals were arrested for espionage. 😅
|An arrested development|
In retrospect, I had a great time! This was my very first Occupy Philadelphia event and I saw a lot of familiar faces and reconnected with friends I hadn't seen since the last event. While I hope it's not my last, it's definitely on my list for next year and in competition with Siege Before Yorktown (coincidentally both events were on the same weekend).
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