“To Marlene Rivero with gratitude…

…thank you again for that magnificent presentation to my class. I am sending you a small token of appreciation….The book is about a Southern Illinois person who played an important role in the anti-slavery fight.” 

Senator, Paul Simon,  April 9, 2002, Dictated 4/2/2002

Story of York told as Part of Commemoration

“York is believed to be the first black man to cross the continent north of Mexico.  Rivero‘s story is one of a worried Mother unsure her son will ever return from the military mission.”, July 27, 2004

“EYES ON ROSE, MOTHER OF YORK” (the slave of William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition) is an unusual one-Woman show, similar to a one-act play.  Few re-enactors attempt to utilize period song within their presentations.  Marlene Rivero, an Illinois Humanities Council Road Scholar storyteller, in period dress, includes wonderful solo performances of period slave and Gospel songs.  This is an original presentation of the story of York, through the eyes of his mother. This program will appeal to all ages and cultures, including those interested in African-American history.  It will shine the spotlight on an unappreciated or little known real person who lived and suffered behind the curtains of history

The Lewis and Clark Society of America, One Lewis and Clark Trail, Hartford, Illinois, March 24, 2005


“As Corps II traveled along the Ohio River, we met an enthusiastic “voice” of the Bicentennial – Marlene Rivero. 

Marlene quickly became a crowd favorite at Corps II. Her thoughtful presentation as York’s mother really struck a chord with visitors. It is not uncommon for Marlene to draw a “standing room only” crowd and have local media standing in line to interview her after she handles the inevitable visitor question and answer period that follows her out of the tent. 

Marlene truly represents our goal of presenting many voices of the Lewis and Clark story at Corps of Discovery II. Our rangers enjoy working with Marlene and our public information officer says she is a natural with the media because of the compelling presentations she gives time and again” ….

Stephen E. Adams, Superintendent, NPS – January 18, 2006


“Eye on Rose, Mother of York”!

I really appreciate your willingness to be here a second time…excellent portrayal. I heard many positive comments… I’ll continue to promote you to other venues and wish you nothing but the best in your future endeavor during first-person interpretation.

Sara Turner,  September 27, 2011, Missouri Dept. of Cons.


Marlene is a very talented actress and storyteller. …Her presentation of Harriet Tubman has been a favorite among area school children and teachers during Black History Month.  The Saga of a Cherokee Woman was also very educational and entertaining.  She is able to recreate the lives of these characters so vividly that she can hold the attention of both children and adults.  Dressing in historically accurate costume, Rivero becomes the person she is portraying, even answering questions from school groups after the program as if she is Harriet Tubman or York’s Mother, etc.  She definitely does her research and knows the history of these individuals very well.

Tim Frizzell, Speech & Theater Instructor, Shawnee Community College


Stitch in Time program at area school celebrates History

This special event was seen as a boost for a school which currently does not have an art program or art teacher. “The vision for this event was to teach students about complex concepts such as slavery,…the unique and important Southern Illinois history prior to and during the Civil War,” said Elizabeth Dorgay, an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer….For the second day of the Cairo School program Marlene Rivero…dressed as Harriet Tubman…talked to the students about symbols and hidden meanings in songs and quilts which were used to help direct slaves who were escaping along the Underground Railroad.

Monday’s Pub. March 19, 2012   (C)2012 Reppert Publications


“Ms. Rivero has a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Ecology and has a passion for performing historical re-enactments.  She brings Harriet Tubman to life through narration and song.  Ms. Rivero brings to life the story of one American we appreciate as a true leader.  She was the Moses of her people”—…young men and women, Harriet Tubman…  

Angie Krieger
Archaeologist/Heritage Resource Specialist
United States Forest Service
Sept. 2006


Southern Illinois Story of a Splintered Cherokee

 “It was great hearing you…at the genealogical society.  Your story was every bit as fascinating as Harriet Tubman’s.  And your stage presence is superb.  I cannot say I “enjoyed” your presentation –it was too painful …. And I am grateful your family’s story is being heard. ”   

Sue Glasco, March 2004

See Marlene Rivero as Elizabeth Keckley at PAST website,, March 2012

Artists Among Us

“Rivero Brings History to Life Through the Art of Storytelling.” Rivero brings characters like Harriet Tubman to life through the use of customs, props, music, and even singing.  As part of her presentation, uses colorful props, and artifacts to represent the time period of her character. Ruth Uehle, Publisher/Editor, Front Street Journal Friday, November 2, 2012,

“Marlene, Thank you so much for your wonderful presentation, [Eyes on Rose] Mark Weekley, Superintendent, Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail, Thursday, November 14, 2013

Hummmm…when she sings she can really blow, 5 year old girl present during the Eyes on Rose presentation 11/4/2013


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