Little known history of Annie Fisher portrayed on Sunday by Verna Laboy at Heritage Festival

History geeks like me squeal over things like this.

Verna Laboy will be portraying Annie Fisher, a black entrepreneur caterer from the early 1900s, from 11:45 to 2 p.m. on Sunday at the Heritage Festival.

The Heritage Festival is a free, two-day event where history comes alive at the Boone County History and Culture Center. You’ll be able to enjoy food, re-enactments, see the Center’s museum and tour the little village of historic buildings at Boone Junction as well as the Maplewood House, a circa 1877 owned by Lavinia and Dr. Frank G. Nifong.

The Maplewood house is where Laboy will be portraying Annie Fisher from 11:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Who is Annie Fisher and why should you care?

Born in 1867, Fisher was born to former slaves in 1867 and while she only a third-grade formal education, she built a thriving business catering as well as owning several rental properties.

Fisher also had two homes, a 15-room house at 608 Park Ave., which was razed during the 1960s, and another at 2911 Old Highway 63, which was razed in 2011, according to this Nov. 29, 2011 Columbia Tribune article. You can still see the Old Highway 63 house on a Facebook page dedicated to the Annie Fisher House Project which includes a video tour of the home as well as historical documents.

Many people have never heard of Annie Fisher.

Who is Verna Laboy and why I care

This Aug. 24, 2017 Columbia Missourian Vox magazine article outlines why Laboy portrays Fisher. Fisher is one of many “hidden figures” of Columbia’s history — African Americans who succeeded despite adversity and racism.

Usually, article notes, Laboy does her performances at public school classrooms. That means adults like me miss out on seeing her and learning about Fisher.

But on Sunday, I’ll finally get to see Laboy portray Fisher and I’ll try not to make a fool out of myself about how thrilled I am to get to see Annie Fisher and meet Verna Laboy.

 

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