Portraits of Courage: African Americans

PORTRAITS OF COURAGE is a play that showcases the lives of several African-Americans who have made vital contributions to American culture and society. Two actors portray historically-based characters who have in!uenced science, civil rights, sports, the economy, the Armed Services, labor relations, education, and the arts. It is an aweinspiring work that will open your eyes to the amazing people who helped make America what it is today.

In a 65 minute presentation, you will meet:

Ida B. Wells: The journalist who, through her writing and activism, refused to allow mainstream America to look the other way and excuse the horrific lynching of black men in the United States.

Langston Hughes: The brilliant poet, one of the originators of jazz poetry, who together with his close friends Wallace Thurman and Zora Neale Hurston set America ablaze with the Harlem Renassaince. One of the only African Americans to appear before McCarthy’s ‘Unamerican Committee,’ this complex man, in contrast to his troubled father, held a deep love for his country on the grounds that it belongs to all Americans, no matter the color.

Colonel Young: The third black graduate from Westpoint, and the architect of America’s National Park system. Colonel Young walked from Ohio to Washington D.C. to prove he could still serve as an officer in the American army and became the highest ranking officer in the United States as Commander of the renowned ‘buffalo’ soldiers.

Madame CJ Walker: The first female millionaire ever. She rose through the squalor of working as a laundress in St. Louis to own a 60 room mansion on the Hudson River and became instrumental in the Harlem Renaissance.

Bass Reeves: Deputy Marshall of Indian Territory, the first black marshal west of the Mississippi who spent thirty-two years crossing the notorious ‘dead line’ into Indian Territory in pursuit of America’s worst outlaws. Three thousand were apprehended by this cowboy legend, including his own son.

Lucy Parsons: A Texan of African-Mexican descent, Lucy was described by the Chicago police as “more dangerous than a thousand rioters.” She was a co-founder of the Industrial Workers of the World, a staunch activist and labor leader campaigning on behalf of women, people of color and the homeless. With her husband, she led the fight for the eight hour work day. A fierce orator, feared by the authorities, Lucy would often be arrested before she reached the podium as she passionately battled across the United States for social justice and equality for all.

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