The Oldham County History Center Announces
2009 Elijah Marrs Achievement Award Winner
Carridder M. Jones
The Oldham County History Center presents the 2009 Elijah Marrs Achievement Award to Carridder M. Jones. Carridder M. Jones was selected as the 2009 Recipient for her contributions to African American history of Oldham County. She wrote the play, “Voice of the Fugitive”, about the life of native son, Henry Bibb. From her efforts the Oldham County History Center received a grant from the Ky. Arts Council to produce “Voice of the Fugitive” at Actors Theatre, May 29, 20, & 31 2009 for the Oldham County History Center’s annual Juneteenth Celebration. Rita’s play gives perspective to the life of a Kentucky slave and honors the achievements of people, such as Henry Bibb, who received little recognition for the sacrifices made for freedom.
Carridder “Rita” Jones was raised on a small farm in South Carolina. After high school she married and began to raise a family and travel. She majored in English and Theatre Arts at the University of Louisville where she blossomed into a historical researcher and writer. Carridder wrote and presented plays in Kentucky at Actors Theatre, Kentucky Center for the Arts Martin Experimental Theatre, Paducah, Kentucky Market House Theatre and the University of Lousville’s Theatre. She has been a historical guest lecturer and received numerous grants as well as the Actors Theatre Keeper of the Chronicle Award. Recently she completed, “A Backward Glance”, her new book about the life of a sharecropper’s daughter in South Carolina, growing up in the 1930s.
The 2009 Elijah Marrs Achievement Award will be presented to Carridder Jones at the opening of Voice of the Fugitive at Actors Theatre, May 29, 2009. Tickets and reservations can be made by calling Actors Theatre: 502-584-1205.
The Elijah Marrs Achievement Award
The award honors Mr. Elijah Marrs (1840-1910) a preacher, writer and educator born into slavery who escaped and joined the Union army at Ft. Nelson. He also recruited local slaves to join the Union. He moved to LaGrange and taught at the 2 Freedman Schools along with his brother Henry. At one time Mr. Marrs said he had 140 children in his Sunday School class at LaGrange. On November 25, 1875, he helped to open the Baptist Normal and Theological Institute in Louisville. In 1883 the school changed its name to State University and later to Simmons University then to Simmons Bible College. In 1880 Marrs took up the pastorate of Beargrass Baptist Church in Crescent Hill. In 1883 Marrs was invited to teach in the Jefferson County School District at a district colored school. As a politician he was delegate to every major politicial convention, constantly promoting African American political and Civil Rights. He was the first elected African American official in Oldham County as the stump for the Republican Party. He was activist in voter registration campaigns in 1870, the first year blacks could vote. He is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Louisville.