"Home on the Mornin' Train"

by Kim Hines

The Underground Railroad is not just a bit of dusty American History--

--it is still running....worldwide.



1839, Talledega, Alabama: slavery is alive and doing quite well in the United States. 1939, Hamburg, Germany: Hitler has called for the extermination of Jews. Jewish children Rifka and Aaron are sent by their parents into hiding with the Westemeier family in rural Germany. Soon they are joined by other Jewish children, Baruch, David and Ledah. The plan is to take them by boat to safety in Denmark. While in hiding, the Jewish children read from a first-person account of a runaway teenage slave named Brave Mary. They learn of the history of slavery in the United States and Brave Mary's story of escaping an Alabama plantation in the 1830s. Brave Mary is joined in her escape by Katie-Mae and a young boy named Kindred.

The means of survival for both groups of children is the Underground Railroad.

The Westemeier's son, Karl, helps his father smuggle the Jewish children out of Germany. In America, Adelaide, the daughter of an abolitionist banker, gives asylum to runaway slaves on their flight to freedom. Olivia, a slave, puts herself in jeopardy as she uses her owner's boat to ferry blacks across the Ohio River. Trials and tribulations beset both groups of children. However, the Jewish children are inspired by the strength and courage of the black children trying to find their way to Canada, as they make their own way to Denmark. This play has songs that reflect African-American and Jewish cultures, and small pieces of dialogue are spoken in German, Yiddish and Hebrew. 

Approximate running time: One hour 15 minutes. 

Cast: 7 males, 8 females...



The oldest actor in the cast about 22 yrs old and the youngest about 8 or 9 yrs old. 




All songs in this play are in public domain. "I'm Goin' Home on the Mornin' Train" can be found at the back of the playbook. All other songs are widely available. The author suggests that you contact a Baptist or AME Black church for assistance with the music. A Rabbi and a synagogue should be contacted to given correct pronunciation of the Hebrew prayers; (and perhaps the German/Yiddish language). This kind of contact was made for the original production and proved to be invaluable to the production and in the community support for the show.

Songs from Black culture include: "Steal Away," "Follow the Drinking Gourd," "Oh, Freedom," "Wade in the Water" and "I'm Goin' Home on the Mornin' Train." Songs from Jewish culture include: "You are the Plowman and You Sow" and "Sholf Mayn Kind."



Interested in this play? 

Please contact Dramatic Publishing