ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) -History buffs came out to Schuyler Mansion to see not only metal clash, but find a deeper understanding of acceptance from European history. Chevalier de Saint-Georges and Chevaliere d`Eon were respected among royal courts of Europe, held as high as modern day celebrities. Both fencers come from unique backgrounds, minorities that cut their own path forward.
“On April 9, 1787, Saint-Georges and d’Eon were the star performance at a fencing tournament and exhibition organized by the Price of Wales, and some of the foremost fencers in London at that time. The two individuals that the audience gathered, turned their eyes to on that day, were a biracial black man and a trans woman.” explained Ian Mumpton, Historic Site Assistant of Schuyler Mansion.
This may come as a surprise, as fencing tends to be associated with white European men. “It’s nice to have our people represented in a sport that is predominantly white,” said Devin Funnye, playing Chevalier de Saint-Georges.
Both actors took pride in portraying the fencers. “Stepping into roles of excellence, stepping into roles of high prestige at the time. Being able to showcase that for other individuals today means a lot getting that representation out there,” stated Reily Mumpton, playing Chevaliere d`Eon.
One of the celebrities of the past has a connection with Schuyler Mansion. “Actually, d’Eon was an acquaintance of the member of the Schuyler family, Angelica Schuyler-Church, who lived in London and Paris for a number of years. She made d’Eon’s acquaintance overseas,” described Ian Mumpton.
Both Schuyler Mansion and the New York State Office of Parks hope to continue to highlight the stories of Saint Georges and d’Eon, as well as similar groups. “We’re responsible for sharing these historical connections with people and making sure that their stories aren’t forgotten. So that a wider audience knows and understands,” said Cordell Reaves, Community Affairs Coordinator of New York State Office of Parks.
Schuyler Mansion also featured music composed by Saint-Georges. Tours of the mansion will begin again in May.