New Civil Rights Movement Drama ‘My Soul Is A Witness,’ Coming To SCJanuary 18, 2005
SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Jan. 18, 2005 -- Only weeks after prosecutors indicted the accused murderer of 1964 freedom fighters in Mississippi, Springfield College will present “My Soul Is a Witness,” a documentary drama portraying the key events and individuals of the Civil Rights Movement from 1955 through 1968. Written by award-winning Chicago playwright David Barr III, the play will be enacted by the JENA Company of New York City on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2005, at 7:30 p.m. in Appleton Auditorium of Fuller Arts Center on the campus.
On a 60-city national tour, the production highlights diverse personalities of the period including Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, President John F. Kennedy, Comedian Dick Gregory, Congressman John Lewis, and Mississippi Sharecropper Fannie Lou Hamer. Stirring gospel music and pulsating protest songs punctuate the production.
According to Springfield College Prof. Carol Mitchell, chairperson of the William Simpson Fine Arts Series, “The play will present a compelling and poignant overview of an extremely significant period of our history. I was struck by the current relevance of one of the play’s scenes, which includes the words of Andrew Goodman. Goodman, along with fellow freedom fighters Michael Schwerner and James Chaney, was murdered in Philadelphia, Miss., in 1964, allegedly by Ku Klux Klan members responding to the efforts of these three young men to register African-American voters. Their story was also dramatized in the film ‘Mississippi Burning.’ Just this month, prosecutors indicted their alleged killer.”
The Springfield College production will be both a celebration of Black History Month and a tribute to King, who was the Springfield College commencement speaker 40 years ago. Sponsors of the event are the Springfield College offices of multicultural affairs, residence life, student affairs, and academic affairs. Drama Professor Martin Shell and Director of Facilities and Campus Services Steve LaFever will provide technical support.
General admission is $5, and for Springfield College students, faculty and staff, $3. Tickets will be available at the door or in advance on weekdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Beveridge Center Desk on the campus. In case of a weather emergency, the performance will take place on Sunday, Feb. 6, at 1 p.m. More information is available by calling Mitchell at (413) 748 – 3144.