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Warren Arts play highlights Civil Rights struggle
Warren Arts - Walk Don't Ride.jpg
Dana Sexton, left, portrays Rosa Parks in the Warren Arts rendition of “Walk, Don’t Ride!” At right, Kathy Elam portrays a white supporter of the Freedom Movement. Micheal McGee, back, gives a powerful portrayal of Martin Luther King Jr. The show continues to run thru June 18 at the Warren Arts center on Manchester Highway and tickets are still available.

The curtain opened Friday night to the Warren Arts rendition of “Walk, Don’t Ride!” The play, adapted from the book by Peter Manos, is a celebration of the fight for equality through word and song.

Directed by Sheri Denning and Julie Cantrell, the play recounts major events of the 1950s and 1960s in the Civil Rights Movement. ”It’s important for the younger generation of this community to be educated in these events and to learn it was really not that long ago that we were segregated,” said Denning.

Historic events such as the sit-ins at Woolworth lunch counters and the Greyhound Freedom Bus Riders are portrayed during the play. It is not without other iconic figures such as Rosa Parks, Claudette Colvin, Joann Robinson, and many others as well. 

Michael McGee powerfully portrays Martin Luther King Jr. in the play. He gave his thoughts about the quest for equality.

“I know people mean well when they say they are color blind or they do not notice the color of my skin, but that denies me my blackness and our own individuality,” said McGee. “They are sincerely trying to be kind when they say those things, but it’s like denying the white man his whiteness and vice versa. My Facebook Page has a profile picture of a black and white hand with the fingers entwined. If both of the hands were the same color, it would not have the same impact. It’s the colors together that make it beautiful.” 

The play will continue to run this Friday and Saturday with both shows beginning at 7 p.m. with the doors opening one hour before the show. On Saturday, June 18, Warren Arts will partner with Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Nashville for an ASL performance. Tickets can be purchased at www.onthestage.com/warren-arts-foundation or purchased at the door.