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André De Shields to Star as Frederick Douglass at Flushing Town Hall for Juneteenth

De Shields’ appearance this June marks 157 years since Douglass himself appeared at Flushing Town Hall in 1865 to deliver a speech titled “The Past and Present."

André De Shields to Star as Frederick Douglass at Flushing Town Hall for Juneteenth

On Sunday, June 19 at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM, André De Shields will return to Flushing Town Hall to reprise his role as the esteemed abolitionist leader and influential thinker in two, live performances of his self-crafted, solo show, André De Shields is Frederick Douglass: Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory.

The Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award-winning De Shields first debuted his show for Flushing Town Hall audiences in February of 2021. It was the culminating event in the cultural institution's "Black History Trilogy" series, and De Shields was the first artist to perform live from the venue stage following the Hall's physical closure during New York's Covid shutdown. His livestreamed performance, originally slated to come down after 48 hours, was extended for an additional two weeks of viewing in response to popular demand.

De Shields' appearance this June marks 157 years since Douglass himself appeared at Flushing Town Hall in 1865 to deliver a speech titled "The Past and Present," in which he addressed the role of African Americans in antebellum America.

"Though Douglass began his life as a slave, through heroic effort, he became one of America's most important and historically influential icons," says De Shields.

This year's performances of André De Shields is Frederick Douglass: Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory are presented as part of the month-long Queens Rising celebration, which showcases the best of the borough's cultural offerings and creative diversity, and in honor of Juneteenth.

A longstanding African American holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, Juneteenth was not officially designated a federal holiday until last year, following decades of activism and 2021's massive Black Lives Matter movement.

The Flushing Town Hall showings will open with a Gospel Juneteenth Presentation by Chuk Fowler and Company, made possible with support by Cross Cultural Council. The presentation will invite audiences to reflect on the significance of Juneteenth with images, words, and songs, including the hymn, "Lift Every Voice and Sing" - more commonly known as the "Black National Anthem."

Born in Harlem, Chuk Fowler first made a name for himself after twice winning amateur night at the famed Apollo Theater. He went on to build a 40-year career performing in Harlem nightclubs, theaters, and hotels throughout the city and with the United States military in Europe and Japan. He also taught for many years as a music teacher in New York City public schools.

In a career spanning more than half a century, André De Shields has acquired a number of sobriquets, among them--"Broadway Deity," "Professional Charmer" and "Papa Dré." A showstopper at age 76, André was the triple-crown winner of the 2019 award season, garnering Tony, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Grammy Awards for his universally praised role as Hermes, Messenger to the Gods, in Hadestown. De Shields has also distinguished himself as director, philanthropist and educator. His defining theatrical performances include roles in the original Broadway productions of The Full Monty (Tony Award nomination), Play On! (Tony Award nomination), Ain't Misbehavin' (Emmy Award) and the titular role in The Wiz. Currently, De Shields is experiencing growing pains as he prepares for his next adventure as Actor/Activist, eradicating the inauthentic while elevating the inexplicable. Ubuntu!

For Flushing Town Hall's full schedule of 2022 Spring and Summer events, visit:

Support Global Arts with a Gift Today!

All gifts of $50 or more give you exclusive Flushing Town Hall Circle of Friends membership benefits including a Smithsonian membership, ticket discounts, and more! Donations in any amount are appreciated to support the artists and the nonprofit cultural organization as they continue to provide programming and entertainment across New York and the world.

Flushing Town Hall is a not for profit organization and receives major support in its 2021-2022 Fiscal Year from the National Endowment for the Arts; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature; New York State Assembly Member Ron Kim; The City of New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio (2021) and Mayor Eric Adams (2022); New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Commissioner Gonzalo Casals; Queens Borough President Donovan Richards; The New York City Council, Speaker Corey Johnson; Council Members Costa Constantinides, Daniel Dromm, Barry Grodenchik, Peter Koo, Karen Koslowitz, Paul A. Vallone, Jimmy Van Bramer; Howard Gilman Foundation, Booth Ferris Foundation, Guru Krupa Foundation, Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation.

To view current donor lists, please visit

About Flushing Town Hall

Flushing Town Hall (FTH), a Smithsonian affiliate, presents multi-disciplinary global arts that engage and educate the global communities of Queens and New York City in order to foster mutual appreciation. As advocates of arts equity since 1979, we support local, immigrant, national, and International Artists, developing partnerships and collaborations that enhance our efforts. As a member of New York City's Cultural Institutions Group (CIG), we serve to restore, manage and program the historic 1862 landmark on behalf of the City of New York. FTH celebrates the history of Queens as the home of Jazz, by presenting the finest in Jazz performance. We are committed to arts education and hands-on learning, for the arts-curious, arts enthusiasts, and professional artists. We serve one of the most diverse communities in the world and strive to uphold the legacy of inclusiveness that has defined our community since the Flushing Remonstrance of 1657.

Flushing Town Hall is a proud member of the Cultural Institutions Group (CIG), a collective of 34 nonprofit museums, performing arts centers, historical societies, zoos, and botanical gardens across all five boroughs with a distinct private-public partnership with the City of New York and a commitment to serving all New Yorkers.

For more information:

(718) 463-7700 x222

137-35 Northern Blvd. Flushing, NY 11354

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