In Celebration of Black History Month, the Friday Center Presents Voices for Change

Mike Wiley Productions: Fire of Freedom

When: Sunday, February 24, 3-5 pm
Where: The Friday Center for Continuing Education
Admission is free

Advanced registration requested: 919-962-3000 or

In celebration of Black History, the Friday Center for Continuing Education proudly presents a theatrical performance presented by acclaimed actor and playwright, Mike Wiley. His one-man play, Fire of Freedom, (based on the book by historian David Celcelski and adapted by playwright Howard L. Craft) offers a glimpse into the life of Abraham H. Galloway (1837-1870). Galloway was a fiery young slave rebel, radical abolitionist, and Union spy who rose out of bondage to become one of the most significant and stirring black leaders in the South during the Civil War. Throughout his brief, mercurial life, Galloway fought against slavery and injustice. He risked his life behind enemy lines, recruited black soldiers for the North, and fought racism in the Union army’s ranks. He stood at the forefront of an African-American political movement, even leading a historic delegation of black southerners to the White House to meet with President Lincoln and to demand the full rights of citizenship. He later became one of the first black men elected to the North Carolina legislature.

Long hidden from history, Galloway’s story reveals a war unfamiliar to most of us. This riveting portrait illuminates Galloway’s life and deepens our insight into the Civil War and Reconstruction as experienced by African-Americans in the South. Fire of Freedom offers a powerful lesson of freedom, perseverance, and the triumph of the human spirit.

Admission is free. Advance registration is requested. Call 919-962-3000, or email to register.

Performance at 3 pm. Reception to follow at 4 pm.

About the performer

Mike Wiley is a North Carolina-based actor & playwright whose compelling works of documentary theatre yield rich and powerful journeys to milestones and turning points of the African American experience. With a remarkable ability to inspire dialog, Wiley’s overriding goal is expanding cultural awareness for audiences of all ages through dynamic portrayals based on pivotal moments in African-American history. Wiley has introduced countless students and communities to the legacies of Emmett Till, Henry “Box” Brown and more. His recent works include a one-man play based on Dr. Timothy B. Tyson’s memoir Blood Done Sign My Name, The Parchman Hour (celebrating the 1961 Freedom Riders), and Downrange: Voices on the Homefront (chronicling the challenges of military families post 9/11). Most recently, Wiley completed Leaving Eden, a Playmakers Reparatory Company commissioned work that explores the cycles of history, human behavior, race and economic disparity through inhabitants of a small North Carolina town.

Wiley has a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a 2017 recipient of UNC’s Distinguished Alumnus Award, which recognizes alumni who have made outstanding contributions to humanity. In 2010 and 2014, Wiley served as the Lehman Brady Visiting Joint Chair Professor in Documentary Studies and American Studies at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In addition to his numerous school and community performances, he has appeared on The Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel, National Geographic Channel and been featured in Our State magazine, PBS’ North Carolina Now and WUNC’s The State of Things.

Event Co-sponsors

The Sonya Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History
University Relations
University Office for Diversity and Inclusion – Workforce Strategy, Equity and Engagement
Department of African, African American, and Diaspora Studies
Center for the Study of the American South
Carolina Public Humanities
Carolina Black Caucus
Carolina Student Union
Carolina Dining Services