Live podcast hosted by Cathy Gillespie and students: Tova Love Kaplan, Jorne Gilbert, and Jewel Gilbert
Topic: Live Podcast: Ep. 122 — Our Special Flag Day Episode with “Betsy Ross” Herself!
When: Tuesday 6/14/2022 at 2:00 pm ET
Join us weekly as we chat with Constitutional experts on hot-topic issues via Zoom! The audience is not on camera but is encouraged to ask questions via the Q&A. Current Series: American Exceptionalism Revealed
Meet the Guest
Betsy Ross Portrayed by Kim Hanley
Betsy Ross, nee Elizabeth Griscom, was born into a middle-class Quaker family, January 1, 1752. She lived in Philadelphia during the War for American Independence, “The American Revolution”.
Did Betsy Ross Design the first American Flag? Most likely no, she did not.
Did Betsy Ross Sew a Flag for the American Congress early in the struggle for American Freedom from Great Britain? Yes, indeed she did.
Was this Flag the first “Stars and Stripes” ever made? Unfortunately, the answer to this question may never be known, but such facts and myths about Betsy Ross have been recounted by generations of Americans.
Betsy Ross: The Flag Unfurled separates the facts about Betsy Ross and the American Flag from the myths, while presenting an entertaining, educational, and inspiring story of the patriot, upholsterer, and flag-maker that really was Betsy Griscom Ross Ashburn Claypoole. In this highly interactive program, Betsy Ross (portrayed by Kim Hanley) invites her audience to join her in her upholstery shop. Betsy’s stories of personal trial and determination vividly depict the tense and sometimes dangerous political climate in Philadelphia during the struggle for American Independence. Using period-appropriate visual aids she clearly illustrates the need for a flag to identify the new country. As the audience watches, she builds the American Stars and Stripes on a colorful felt storyboard, step-by-step, from its historical components. Along the way she dispels myths about Betsy Ross and the flag, clearing the way for the audience to develop an accurate understanding of the development of our Nation’s emblem.
Elizabeth Griscomb Ross Ashburn Claypoole’s story differs from, and is superior to, the myths that enshroud her true legacy. Hers is the story of a strong and independent woman who was willing to work hard and follow her own mind and heart at a time when women were expected to conform to tradition.
As one of the most iconic figures of American Independence, we think of Betsy Ross sitting in her quaint colonial room, dutifully sewing the first Stars and Stripes. While historians doubt the validity of her descendant’s claim that Betsy made the very first emblem of our nation, they do agree on the less glamorous, yet more substantial facts of her real life. Unfortunately the history of women’s work was not well documented and the world may never know who actually sewed the first American Flag. Betsy Ross never made that claim for herself. We do know, however, that she lived a fascinating and inspiring life during difficult times. She struggled to maintain her business and patriotic beliefs during the British occupation of Philadelphia (1777-78). It is in the hearts of the middle class people such as Betsy Ross that this country was conceived, and on their hard working backs that America thrived as a new Nation.
In this presentation attendees will meet the lady behind the myths, discover the history of the Flag as Betsy builds it up from its historical components, and they will have the opportunity to master her “famous” trick of cutting a five pointed star with one snip of the scissors. Young visitors will be “trained” as apprentices in Betsy’s shop.
Kim Hanley: Actor/Historian, Interpreter, Reenactor, Impersonator
Meet the Hosts
Cathy Gillespie is the Chair of Constituting America and one of 16 private citizens serving on the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission, helping organize the celebration of our country’s 250th birthday in 2026! She is a former Congressional Chief of Staff and former Commissioner of the White House Fellows Commission.
Tova Love Kaplan
Tova Love Kaplan is eighteen years old and lives in Chicago, Illinois. She currently serves as the National Youth Director for Constituting America and runs the National Youth Advisory Council. She is a three-time winner of the “We the Future” contest and is passionate about educating and empowering young people to use their constitutional rights!
Jorne Gilbert is a recent graduate of Moravian University where he designed a major entitled Dramatic Production and Musical Performance. He used what he learned to further develop the charitable organization Sing For America which he co-founded to produce musicals portraying the art of Truth and Light. He is an avid rugby player and in his spare time flips houses with his uncle.
Jewel Gilbert is Executive Producer of Sing for America, a charity founded by him and his family. Sing for America reveals the Art of Truth and Light through live performance. He is the Operations Director for a new business venture, J. Barker Paving. Jewel holds a BA in Musical Performance/Dramatic