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Publisher's Summary

Betsy LaQuanda Ross is a self-proclaimed “Peculiar Patriot”, who makes regular visits to penitentiaries in order to boost the morale of her loved ones. When she is not sharing neighborhood updates and gossip, Betsy illuminates our country’s cruel and unjust criminal justice system and its impact not only on the 2.3 million people behind bars, but also their family and friends. Written and performed by the inimitable Liza Jessie Peterson and inspired by her decades-long work with prison populations including on the notorious Riker’s Island, The Peculiar Patriot is a fierce, funny, and shrewd indictment of the systemic inequity within America’s fastest growing industry, tracing its roots from the plantation to the prison yard. Originally produced by the National Black Theatre and Hi-Arts, The Peculiar Patriot will be recorded live at the Minetta Lane Theatre for Audible listeners globally.

©2020 Liza Jessie Peterson (P)2020 AO Media LLC

About the Creator and Performer

Liza Jessie Peterson is an artivist: an actress, playwright, author, and poet. Her critically acclaimed one woman show, The Peculiar Patriot, premiered at the National Black Theater in Harlem, was nominated for a Drama Desk award, and received a generous grant from Agnes Gund’s prestigious Art for Justice Fund. Liza performed The Peculiar Patriot in over 35 penitentiaries across the country. She recently performed it at Angola State Penitentiary in Louisiana for a live audience of over more than 700 men and was live-streamed throughout the entire prison, which is currently in development for a documentary. Liza is author of ALL DAY: A Year of Love and Survival Teaching Incarcerated Kids at Rikers Island (Hachette publishing). She was featured in Ava Duvernay’s, The 13th and was a consultant on Bill Moyer’s documentary Rikers (PBS).

Dear Listener,

Why did I choose the title The Peculiar Patriot?
"19th century Southern lawmakers in the Antebellum South referred to slavery as 'our peculiar institution' because slavery was too dirty a word, so they attempted to sanitize it. A patriot is someone who loves and supports their country. This play seeks to re-examine the definition of patriotism as Betsy LaQuanda Ross, our main character, salutes the urban street soldiers who are victims of hyper-policing, racial profiling, biased judicial systems and the failed war on drugs. With 2.3 million people incarcerated in America—a small nation of people—that number is multiplied exponentially when you consider the family and friends who love and support that peculiar nation behind the wall. A Peculiar Patriot is anyone who travels on buses, drives miles upon miles, accepts collect phone calls, writes letters, puts money on the books for their loved ones, and supports a peculiar soldier in a peculiar war against a peculiar institution." – Liza Jessie Peterson, creator and performer of The Peculiar Patriot

What listeners say about The Peculiar Patriot

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  • AJ
  • 09-26-20

I laughed and I cried and laughed till I cried

I laughed and I cried and laughed till I cried. This was wonderful. True artistry with “real” content. The stories had me pulling for the characters and snapping back to pray for the real people these things happen to. Good luck Joanne, you got this, girl. 😉

11 people found this helpful

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OMG

I love the way Liza sheds light on our injustice system through laughter and truth. This performance was very thought provoking. I definitely enjoyed listening.

9 people found this helpful

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absolutely fantastic

smooth lesson on the really real ,you feel m. I learned something from this story.

4 people found this helpful

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Beautiful Performance!

This is an unexpected and unconventional portrayal of prison. The character development is outstanding. The story is full of humor, but doesn't lose the serious theme that runs though the when thing. Do yourself a favor and listen.

3 people found this helpful

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You entranced me!

I loved everything about this. Thank you for putting your emotions to words so they could be experienced!

3 people found this helpful

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Pure Enjoyment!

I throughly enjoyed your book‼️ During the times we’re in I’m deep-diving into us and I felt every character. Thank you for the history and life lessons. You are a true literary Diva Genius👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽

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Wow

She is so entertaining and her perspective is on point. Makes you take a deep look into what is really going on in the justice system!

2 people found this helpful

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Amazing!

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in social justice and to those who can’t yet see the discrepancy that exists.

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Funny, informative, Thought provoking

I will definitely do my research. I suspected as much, but I gotta make this info my own.

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Great listen.

I enjoyed this book alot. I was also motivated to do some research on the subject of over incarceration of people of color. Thanks for both the entertainment and the education.

2 people found this helpful