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PERFORMING ARTS H ACTOR’S THEATRE OF CHARLOTTE

650 E. Stonewall St., 704/342-2251, www.actorstheatrecharlotte.org Map 2

There is something special about a theater company that produces quirky plays peppered with four-letter words and encourages the audience to bring a glass of wine to their seats. The theater was founded in 1989 and is the only theater company in the region dedicated to presenting works for mature audiences. The performances range from off-Broadway shows to new works by contemporary playwrights. Specials like Pay What You Can Night and Roll the Dice (theatergoers pay five times the number of their roll of the dice) help make the already reasonably priced tickets even more affordable.

Massachusetts Society The colonists who populated Massachusetts were mostly from the middle and lower ranks of English society, a group composed of yeoman and tenant farmers, as well as skilled artisans. Servants immigrated to Massachusetts, as did a fair number of the gentry. Much of the colony was composed of white settlers; however, Native Americans and African Americans were also members of Massachusetts society. The first blacks arrived in Massachusetts as early as 1633; by 1680, there were between 100 and 200 black residents in the colony. Mesa Map In 1715, it was home to 2,000 blacks in an overall population of 96,000. Slavery in Massachusetts was low as compared to other colonies, largely due to the lack of a laborintensive crop that required numerous workers. Massachusetts residents were well aware of the presence of blacks in their community, however, and established extensive laws to govern black residents’ behavior. By the 1770s, when this map was drawn, nearly a century had passed since the termination of the Puritan commonwealth. Religious influences in the Massachusetts Bay Colony had waned in favor of a commercial spirit and thriving trade economy, and the population exceeded 250,000. (Library of Congress, g3760 ar088100) The colonists placed a great emphasis on the importance of education in the community. In 1636, they established Harvard to provide the necessary education for ministers.

Education of children was also of primary importance. In 1647, the General Court adopted legislation that required all towns with 50 or more families to provide for the education of the town’s children by supporting a public school. Larger towns, those with 100 families or more, were required to establish more extensive grammar schools that included training in Latin. This emphasis on education resulted in high literacy rates throughout Massachusetts. A result of this widespread literacy was the establishment of a printing press in Cambridge, begun in 1638. In 1640, the press produced The Bay Psalm Book.

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