For the last several years, the SS Columbia Project has been working to bring America’s oldest surviving passenger steamship to New York. So far, the steamship has moved from Detroit, where it was last employed on the river, to Toledo and to Buffalo where it began to undergo necessary repairs and restoration. The goal is to bring the ship to the Hudson Valley where it will serve as a floating cultural center, harkening back to the days when steamboats plied the waterway between New York City and upstate.

Two years ago, Untapped New York partnered with the SS Columbia Project to bring the boat to life through a new original play, Glory Be Columbia written by Justin Rivers, our Chief Experience Officer, and co-produced by Aaron Asis, the Untapped New York Artist in Residence.

SS Columbia Sarah Elizabeth Ray animated videoStill from Sarah Elizabeth Ray: The Rosa Parks of SS Columbia, a video by Aaron Schillinger

Tonight, we’re excited to partner again with the SS Columbia Project on their event, a viewing and panel discussion about Sarah Elizabeth Ray: The Rosa Parks of SS Columbia, a video by Aaron Schillinger. The virtual event, which is also brought to us by The Steamship Historical Society of Americ, and The National Maritime Historical Society will include a screening of a short video telling the story of Sarah Elizabeth Ray, the long unrecognized inspiration who preceded Rosa Parks by ten years. The film will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Detroit Historical Society’s Malika Pryor and featuring filmmaker Aaron Schillinger, author Desiree Cooper, and historian and professor Victoria Wolcott. The event will conclude with an update on the restoration of SS Columbia by SS Columbia Project Board Co-Chair Ian Danic and interim Executive Director Ann Loeding.

S.S. Columbia. Photo by Aaron Asis

The event begins at 7 PM and you can register here. You will receive two confirmation emails, one from Brown Paper Tickets and a follow-up that includes the Zoom event link and password.