Performance at DCCC Depicts Key Moments in the American Civil Rights Movement
Jan 29, 2015 – History met live theater during a performance of “Rosa Parks and Forgotten Friends,” a production of the Bright Star Touring Theatre held Wednesday at Davidson County Community College.
Pivotal moments in the American civil rights movement were depicted as civil rights pioneers explained their contributions to the fight for freedom and equality for all Americans. The event was “hosted” by Rosa Parks, played by Tamara Jackson-Morris, who in 1955 refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a city bus in Atlanta, bringing the cause for racial equality to national prominence.
“It’s partly because of me we get to gather in this venue today,” Parks’ character said as the show opened.
Other civil rights leaders appearing in the two-actor production included Underground Railroad leader Harriet Tubman, freed slave Frederick Douglass, abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth, Buffalo Soldier Chester P. Sims, Tuskegee Airman Charles Alfred Anderson and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. These historical figures were all played by Jackson-Morris. Actor Evan McLean played the roles of Underground Railroad founder Thomas Garrett, abolitionist and journalist William Lloyd Garrison, a slave owner and a U.S. Army Air Force commander.
DCCC students Chanel Banne, Ashayian Donnelly and Cortlyn Leonard were invited to the stage to portray escaping slaves, a Tuskegee airman and former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, a civil rights advocate who supported the Tuskegee Airmen.
“I thought the program was very interesting,” Banne says. “I wanted to feel I was a part of history.”
Each year, Bright Star Touring Theatre serves nearly 1,000 audiences in schools, theaters, libraries, museums and other locations across the country, offering a wide variety of curriculum-based programs. The company regularly performs for The National Theatre in Washington, D.C., and has gained international support by accepting an invitation from the U.S. Embassy to visit Moscow, Russia, with its programs.
Editor’s note: In the first photo, Underground Railroad founder Thomas Garrett (actor Evan McLean) is stopped by a law enforcement officer (actress Tamara Jackson-Morris) as he drives a wagon loaded with slaves to freedom. The “slaves” hidden under blankets are DCCC students Chanel Banne and Ashayian Donnelly. In the second photo, Tuskegee Airman Charles Alfred Anderson (actress Tamara Jackson-Morris) greets First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, portrayed by DCCC student Cortlyn Leonard as an Army Air Force commander (actor Evan McLean) looks on.
Founded in 1963, Davidson County Community College is noted for its quality educational programs and services. As one of 58 institutions within the North Carolina Community College System, DCCC offers studies in more than 50 degree programs. A fully accredited, multi-campus college, DCCC celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013 and is looking forward to serving students in Davidson and Davie counties for many years to come. The college is committed to developing minds, inspiring imaginations, and preparing students for enhanced career and educational opportunities within a changing global environment. Visit Davidson County Community College on the Web at davidsonccc.edu.