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One-man show portrays life of Lewis & Clark slave

Chronicling 850 days of freedom

Cannon Beach Gazette

Published on December 21, 2017 10:30AM

Last changed on December 27, 2017 4:30PM

Gideon For-mukwai

Hoffman Center for the Arts

Gideon For-mukwai

Gideon For-mukwai presents a dramatic one-man show “Dare to Tell: Crossing the Columbia with York,” at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 13, at the Hoffman Center for the Arts in Manzanita.

For-mukwai stars as York of the Lewis and Clark Expedition 1804-1806. York was Captain Clark’s black slave. His status notwithstanding, the records show he contributed immensely to the success of the expedition as an indispensable bridge-builder.

For-mukwai takes the audience on a panoramic journey from Camp Dubois in Missouri to Fort Clatsop in Astoria. In the course of the journey, York experiences 850 days of freedom. Unlike other slaves of that era, he was allowed to carry a rifle, vote alongside the soldiers, and given express permission to hunt and trade with the Indians.

But for the footnotes in the journals of his fellow explorers, York’s story would have been lost. York’s story is an open invitation to all of us to explore and to tell the stories of today’s unsung heroes in communities, corporations and institutions.

After two years of researching and piecing together York’s untold story, For-mukwai did test performances in Portland and St Louis. Prior to attempting this project, For-mukwai spent over 15 years honing the craft of business storytelling in Asia, Europe, Africa and America.

For-mukwai is a bestselling author of “The Science of Story Selling.” Growing up in Africa, he was very mischievous and often got himself into deep trouble with all the villagers. Everyone in his village predicted that he’d end up in jail. He ended in Portland.

“Dare to Tell: Crossing the Columbia with York,” will be held at Hoffman Center for the Arts; 594 Laneda Ave., Manzanita at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 13. Admission fee is $10. Further information is available at online or contact Vera Wildauer at


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