On today’s edition of “This is Tourism,” join WCHL’s Ron Stutts for a conversation with Sara Stephens and Ronda Tucker as they discuss the history of Hillsborough and how the town is still exploring its roots today.

Brenda Stephens and Sara Stephens, who are mother and daughter, portrayed the older and younger Elizabeth Keckly in “Behind the Scenes.”

Stephens, the current chair of the Historic Hillsborough Commission, works to help establish efforts to highlight Hillsborough’s history through everything from plaques to plays. She also plays the younger Elizabeth Keckly in “Behind the Scenes” – a production about the life of Elizabeth Hobbs Keckly, a former slave who became a successful seamstress, civil activist, and author.

Tucker is the director of the Burwell School’s Historic Site, where visitors can learn about life in 19th century Hillsborough and what was happening across the country along with right here in Orange County.

Ronda Tucker, director of the Burwell School’s Historic Site

Stephens and Tucker are also both involved with a special task force assembled by the Burwell School Research Committee that recently completed a study titled “People of Color, Enslaved and Free.” Through researching original documents, deeds, newspaper articles of the day and other sources, the task force found the names of persons of color associated with the property during the time it operated as a girls’ academy.

You can listen below for the full conversation, and learn more about the rich history of Hillsborough and its citizens!


This weekly segment uncovers the local impact the tourism industry has on our community, told through the stories of the people who make tourism flourish in Orange County. Listen during the Ron Stutts Show every Thursday at 8:40 for a new “This is Tourism” live interview!