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Arts in Milwaukee

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  • “Facing the Shadow”Facing the Shadow

    Two years before the Civil War free women of color must choose between their families' possible enslavement, and helping a female slave escape.

Shelia Payton

  • Literature
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artist bio

Shelia Payton is an author, playwright and lyricist. Works include Cultures of America: African Americans (part of a middle-school book series published by Marshall Cavendish); an essay book aimed at young adults: What Counts Most is How You Finish: Thoughts on Living Life to the Fullest; a play (Facing the Shadow) set in pre-Civil War Baltimore, in which free woman of color must make a potentially life-altering decision: whether to help a runaway slave escape; the libretto for an opera, Black Caesar (music by Neal Tate, Broadway's first Black music director), and lyrics for Christian and soul/country songs. Shelia began her professional writing career as a reporter for the Miami Herald newspaper. She also worked as a freelance producer for Milwaukee Profiles, a program that aired on Milwaukee Public Television.