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Three Theatre Companies Unite For Black Wall Street Festival

Harlem's 1st Annual Black Wall Street Festival is a commemoration to honor the legacies of Black Towns established throughout the North and South post-Reconstruction.

Three Theatre Companies Unite For Black Wall Street Festival

Theatre companies from Los Angeles and New York unite to create the Black Wall Street Festival. 2021 marks the centennial of the Black Wall Street Massacre, a two-day event that concluded on June 1, 1921. White mobs attacked the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Greenwood, then the wealthiest Black community in the United States, was called Black Wall Street.

26 Blacks and 13 whites were killed, and 800 people were hospitalized with injuries. 35 square blocks were destroyed, and 10,000 Black people were left homeless.

Harlem's 1st Annual Black Wall Street Festival is a commemoration to honor the legacies of Black Towns established throughout the North and South post-Reconstruction, communities of men and women seeking equality, justice, and economic independence. Many achieved great prosperity.

The Festival will be a virtual event comprised of three short plays.

The Robey Theatre Company will perform Double V, a short play by Levy Lee Simon (extracted from his full-length play The Magnificent Dunbar Hotel). It's 1942, and Paul Robeson, Chester Himes, W.E.B. DuBois, and other members of the Black community convene at the famed Dunbar Hotel in Los Angeles to debate whether Blacks should join the U.S. Armed Services and fight in World War Two. Why should Blacks volunteer for combat after whites perpetrated the Black Wall Street Massacre?

The Robey Theatre Company Producing Artistic Director, Ben Guillory directs a cast that includes Garret Davis, Julio Hanson, Melvin Ishmael Johnson, Jason Mimms, Marlaina Owens, Joshua R. Lamont, Damon Rutledge, Jah Shams, Cydney Wayne Davis, Marcus Clark Oliver, and Crystal Nix.

Michael Green, Founder/Artistic Director of Shades of Truth Theatre, is the playwright and director of The Plan. It's 1920, and various parts of the country are still reeling from the aftermath of the worst series of racial disturbances in recent times: The Red Summer of 1919. In contrast, things could not be better in Greenwood, Tulsa, Oklahoma. The thriving upwardly mobile Black community seems invulnerable to such violence. Zachary Fountain doesn't think so, and he believes that an attack on Greenwood is inevitable and possibly imminent. He ponders the same question, over and over ... What are we going to do!!!? The answer? We need a plan!

Michael Green also directs JuneBug's Great Plane Ride by Joseph Lawrence Thompson. It's the summer of 1992, and Los Angeles is on fire. In the wake of the acquittal of the law enforcement officers accused of nearly beating Rodney King to death, as witnessed by millions of TV viewers, the city erupts in chaos. For many, it is the worst day ever as images of people bleeding and buildings burning will forever be etched in their minds. For the aging and convalescing Sophia Toomey, it is a harbinger of things past. She was a child living in Greenwood on its worst day ever, June 1, 1921.

Harlem's 1st Annual Black Wall Street Festival (Black Wall Street: Ten Stories High) is presented by The Robey Theatre Company, Shades of Truth Theatre, and Voza Rivers/New Heritage Theatre Group in association with Queens Public Library. Executive Producer: Voza Rivers. Sponsor: Queens Public Library.

The Festival premieres on Tuesday, June 1, 2021, at 1:00 p.m. PDT and 4:00 p.m. EDT on the Queens Public Library Webex Streaming Platform, https://queenslib.org/2PCbCNx. The event is FREE of charge and includes a talkback with directors and performers. Hosted by Queens Public Library.

ALSO: The Festival will be available for streaming from June 22 through June 27 on LIVEONNWS. Please register at http://LIVEONNWS.com. Suggested donation: $10.00.

The Robey Theatre Company is supported in part by grants from the California Arts Council, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the office of Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, and the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture. The Robey Theatre Company is a federally designated 501c3 non-profit organization.

For more information about The Robey Theatre Company, go to http://therobeytheatrecompany.org


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