"Black Hoosiers: Untold Tales" will be an evening of theater performance and conversation, part of Giving Voice: African-American’s Presence in Indiana’s History, a collaborative initiative of Conner Prairie and Asante Children’s Theatre.
The work of African-American playwrights will be performed first, followed by a facilitated dialogue with the audience about issues of race, history and identity.
Partnering facilitators include Ernest Disney-Britton from the Arts Council of Indianapolis and Tamara Winfrey-Harris from the Central Indiana Community Foundation.
'RHODES FAMILY INCIDENT'
This 30-minute play, written by Crystal V. Rhodes and in collaboration with Asante Children’s Theatre, tells the story of two contemporary college students who grew up in Westfield, Ind., and discover a historical racial incident that challenges their notions of identity and their hometown. The play was inspired by research into African-American history in Hamilton County.
MONOLOUGES TO FEATURE HISTORIC FIGURES
Lillian Thomas Fox (1866-1917)
Lillian Thomas Fox was a journalist and clubwoman active in progressive-era Indianapolis. She rose to prominence in the 1880s-1890s as a civic leader and writer for the Indianapolis Freeman, a leading national black newspaper at the time. She later joined the Indianapolis News as Indiana's first black columnist at a white newspaper.
Dr. Martin Jenkins (1904-1978)
Dr. Martin Jenkins was born in Terre Haute, Ind., and became an academic. His pioneering work, “A Socio-Psychological Study of Negro Children of Superior Intelligence,” was among the first to focus on black children of superior intelligence. He researched black children of superior intelligence in grades 3-8 who lived in Chicago. His findings contradicted research that suggested that black children of high intelligence were rare.
Willa Brown (1906-1992)
Willa Brown graduated from Wiley High School in Terre Haute, Ind. After earning a master's degree and teaching, she moved to Chicago and became the first African-American woman to earn a pilot's license in 1938 and a commercial license in 1939. She co-founded the Cornelius Coffey School of Aeronautics, the first black-owned and operated, private-flight training academy in the U.S. By 1941, hundreds of men and women had trained under Brown, including many men who later became members of the famed Tuskegee Airmen.