Friday, August 30, 2013

Four Little Golden Girls: The Bombing that Galvinized the Civil Rights Movement

Cast of Four Little Golden Girls (Photo courtesy of Alpha Photography)

Today, as a Footsoldier of the Civil Rights Movement, I pledge...

The participants of the Phenomenal Women's Summit wore Purple on Friday Evening, August 30, 2013 to attend the opening preview of Four Little Golden Girls, a new play by Ernestine Dilworth-Williams with music by Stu Gardner.  The play was directed by Melvin Nevett and starred Tony Award Winner Melba Moore.  It also stars Angel Armstrong, LaShonda M. Corder, LaTonya Matthews, Antoinette M. Stewart and Chalethia Williams (Member of the Actor's Equity Association), with Michele Chaverst, Star B. Corder, Allison Hickman, Adriaonna Jones and Diamond Sparks.  The production was presented as a part of the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Civil Rights Movement and the Bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.

Four Little Golden Girls engaged the memory of six women, Rena, Bea, Effie, Roalea, Mae Lee and Ellen, who were also little girls during the time that the infamous bombing on September 15, 1963.  Gathered together to watch the Presidential Medal Ceremony commemorating Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, Addie Mae Collins, and survivor, Sarah Collins Rudolph, the six women discussed their reactions to the event those years ago and how it shaped them to be better women.  With artifacts of African American culture surrounding them - quilts, African American art including a framed Buffalo Soldier Commemorative Stamp Poster, and other historical facts - the audience left with a true understanding of the weight of the Civil Rights movement on those left to pick up the pieces.

A full band and vocal ensemble (under the direction of Ruth Randall and featuring musicians Anthony Williams, Russell Smith, Jefferson Drew Stephen Hundley) brought the score to life, with a fusion of gospel, jazz, funk and R&B.  Their accompaniment, especially under scoring Rena's (Moore) "Lean on Me",  left the audience emotionally connected with the cast and with vivid memory of the history of Birmingham.

The play will continue its run September 6, 2013 at 10:00am and 7:00pm, Saturday, September 7, 2013 2:00pm and 7:00pm.

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