Ever hear of Oscar DePriest? He made history a hundred years ago Monday. Few today remember him, but a hundred years ago, on April 6, 1915, Oscar DePriest made history, becoming the first African-American elected alderman in Chicago.
Is this long overdue pardon the final word in one of the most sordid parts of our nation's history? The troubling perceptions linking people of color, particularly African Americans and more particularly black males, to criminality have persisted.
Black president or not, juries will continue to set white perpetrators free while wrongfully convicting African Americans so long as a "jury of your peers" means an exclusively or predominately white jury.
Of all the shows I've worked on, The Scottsboro Boys Musical is the one I'm most passionate about because of its historical significance, its artistic brilliance, its ability to change lives, to make an impact, and to keep the conversation going.
On December 12th, The Scottsboro Boys closed its Broadway run. Months later, Beowulf Boritt received a Tony nomination for "Best Scenic Design of a Musical" for work that used minimal elements to convey symbolism and depth.
Watching The Scottsboro Boys, I was made painfully aware of my own racism. I judge people by their skin color, their religion, their sexual orientation. The fact is, we all do; it doesn't make us bad people -- it makes us human.
The play takes on a series of challenges in presenting the Depression Era story of the nine African-American teens who were falsely accused of raping two white women in the state of Alabama. Not an easy task.
The true story is as unlikely a choice for a Broadway show as you can imagine: nine young black men aged 13 to 19 were arrested on trumped up rape charges in 1931 Alabama and became a national cause celeb.