“York” to Tell Story of the Expedition’s African American Member
The Lewis and Clark Foundation is bringing a one-man performance titled, “York,” to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center Theater on April 6 at 7 p.m.
In a powerful, one-man performance, David Casteal plays the character York, who was William Clark’s personal slave. York accompanied the Lewis and Clark Expedition as the only African American man in the Corps of Discovery. In his performance, Casteal weaves the story of York’s challenges and accomplishments, blending first-person narration with energetic, live African drumming and traditional Native American drum recordings.
While York proved an important participant in the expedition, as a black man and a slave, York was not recognized as a member of the Corps of Discovery until nearly 200 years after the expedition. In 2001, President Bill Clinton posthumously awarded York the rank of Honorary Sergeant in the Corps of Discovery.
York is sponsored by the Edward Jones Office of Patrick Winderl and the Portage Route Chapter of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation. The U.S. Forest Service owns and operates the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, where the performance will be held in the theater.
The York production premiered at the Spokane Civic Theater in 2005, and was conceived by two Spokane-based talents, actor and African drummer David Casteal, and playwright Bryan Harnetiaux, the Spokane Civic Theater’s Playwright-in-Residence. The production is directed by Susan Hardie.