As we near the end of Black History month, Towne Street Theatre would like to focus on remembrance to look toward a better Black future. This Sunday, February 26th at 4pm, Towne Street will be hosting a screening in the TST Virtual Salon of the informative, heart wrenching and riveting drama Black Annie and the Pastor written by Tony Robinson. This is a play that exposes the true story of a fateful day in August of 1930 when a mob of more than 10,000 white people dragged two African American teens from their jail cells in Marion, Indiana and lynched them on the local courthouse grounds. Word went out that their bodies were to remain hanging to “send a message.” At a time and place where almost 30% of white protestant men belonged to the Ku Klux Klan, Pastor J. E. Johnson and three African American men from nearby Muncie defiantly drove to Marion, retrieved the bodies, and took them to be respectfully prepared for burial.
This play is particularly timely because of the Emmett Till Antilynching Act which was passed by President Biden on March 29 of 2022. This legislation makes lynching a federal hate crime, punishable by up to 30 years in prison. For decades lynching was a very real fear that many African Americans had to face. This article describes how lynching and other forms of violence created a stranglehold around the Black community, prohibiting that community from the American ideal of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
In order to preserve the memory of this historical event and inspire contemplation, Towne Street Theatre will also have a Q & A session after the screening led by Henry Ealy, PhD, retired chair of the American Cultures Department and retired president of the Black Faculty and Staff Association at Los Angeles City College, and Brooke-Renee Kinser Bonnell M.A., academic advisor and adjunct instructor of sociology at Ball State University.
Nancy Cheryll Davis Bellamy, TST’s co-founder and artistic director states that “through the powerful storytelling talents of today’s African-American writers and performers, TST brings together history and recent steps toward change like the passing of the anti-lynching bill." It is her wish and the wish of Towne Street Theatre that this screening will inspire discussion within the community as well as inspire future generations.
This is another contribute what you can event from TST. Get your tickets here.