15 February 2008
Black History Month Event:
"Portraits of Courage:
African-Americans I Wish I Had Known"
The Los Angeles-based acting ensemble Will and
Company will perform "Portraits of Courage: African-Americans I Wish I Had Known," at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 20
in the Leone Cole Auditorium on the JSU campus. The play is about six little known African American heroes.
Playwright Colin Cox wrote "Portraits" to enlighten, encourage and educate a multigenerational and multicultural
audience on some of the unsung heroes of African-American history.
Los Angeles-based actors, Christy Joy Wilson and Will Owens, portray historical characters
such as Madame C. J. Walker, Fannie Lou Hammer, and W. E. B. DuBois. The play explores
through words and dramatic monologues the societal contributions of key African-American
Wilson gives an impressive interpretation of Madam C. J. Walker, Ida
B. Wells, and Fannie Lou Hamer. Owens portrays Colonel Charles
Young, Bass Reeves and Lewis Latimer. The actors take turns
presenting their characters, each of which recounts the story of how his
or her life became part of American history.
Wilson's portrayal of Madam C. J. Walker is full of optimism. The
first American woman of any race to become a millionaire through her
own efforts, she invented "The Walker System," a shampoo or pomade "hair
Wilson gives a passionate presentation of Ida B. Wells, a fearless
anti-lynching crusader, an advocate for women's rights, and a journalist
who spoke up about public issues when no else would. She also
interprets the powerless, but yet courageous Fannie Lou Hamer, memorable
for her quote "sick and tired of being sick and tired."
Owens' powerful presentation of Colonel Young captures the
essence of a proud, strong military officer, the Colonel who took
his troops to battle with courage and inspiration.
Young was only the third African American to graduate from the United
States Military Academy at West Point. He was also an officer with
the Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th and 10th Cavalries.
Owens' entertaining portrayal of Bass Reeves, the most important
United States Marshall in Indian Territory fro 32 years, was humorously
informative, especially in his encounters with outlaws. Though he
did not know how to read, he captured more outlaws than any of his
Owens also presents Lewis Latimer, a Renaissance man and member of
the Edison Pioneers, a group associated with the famous inventor Thomas
Edison. In fact, he was a key figure in the engineering division
of the Edison Light Company.
The dramatic production is free and open to the public. The performance piece is
an examination of notable African-Americans and their contributions to American history.
Visit the Portraits of Courage Website for more information.
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