Springfield College Black History Month Events Open With Civil Rights Movement Play ‘The Meeting’January 22, 2009
SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Jan. 22, 2009 – If Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X had a conversation in 1965, what would they have said? That fictitious meeting is the subject of Jeff Stetson’s 1987 award-winning play “The Meeting,” to be enacted by Pin Points Production Company on Tuesday, Jan. 27, at 7 p.m., in Springfield College’s Marsh Memorial Chapel.
Set in the Hotel Theresa in Harlem, the play shows that the two iconic figures of the civil rights movement shared a goal of greater equity for the disenfranchised, while differing sharply on the means. King was the southern Baptist minister whose advocacy for nonviolent protest earned him the Nobel Peace Prize. Malcolm X was an exponent of black self defense, by any means when necessary.
In the dialogue, Malcolm X mocks the civil rights movement for “sitting ’round a camp fire singing ‘We Shall Overcome’ while a cross is burning.” King passionately defends incremental victories, such as the Voter Registration Act of 1965. King’s visit displeases Malcolm X’s Black Muslim bodyguard, Rashad, in a sketchy role that connects with Malcolm X’s murder a few days later.
The play is the first event in Springfield College’s observance of Black History Month, which will begin Feb. 1.
The Traveling Museum of Black Inventions and Innovations will be on view Tuesday, Feb. 3, from 3 to 9 p.m., in Springfield College’s Babson Library. The exhibition includes more than 100 items, including authenticated original inventions, replicas, representative models, patent drawings, photographs, newspaper articles and biographies.
Dream Studio Dance Productions, a Springfield-based troupe of African-American, Latino and Asian dancers from eight to 18 years old, will perform African, hip hop and modern jazz dance and ballet on Saturday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 22, at 3 p.m., in Evans Gym in Judd Gymnasium.
Concluding Springfield College’s Black History Month observances will be a performance of “Black Jew Dialogues” on Thursday, Feb. 26, at 8 p.m., in Evans Gym in Judd Gymnasium. Authors Larry Jay Tish and Ron Jones will perform their comical play on the history and absurdity of prejudice and racism based upon African-American and Jewish experiences. In fast-paced sketches, improvisations, and multi-media, they will take the audience on a funny and poignant ride through three days they spent in a cheap hotel room discussing their own experiences.
The show has gained praise across the U.S. and the U.K. “Our great hope in writing the show was to use it as a catalyst to reunite our cultures,” the authors have said. Following the performance at Springfield College, they will lead a discussion.
More information on Springfield College’s observance of Black History Month is available from the Multicultural Affairs Department at 413-748-3249.