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Capital Fringe Festival Presents POWER: The Rise of Stokely Carmichael

Although it is 2015, the message captured in the upcoming play, Power: Stokely Carmichael, is as eerily applicable today as it was during the time of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s.  Written and performed by Meshaun Labrone, the play focuses on Stokely Carmichael during the summer of 1966 and how he helped change how African Americans saw themselves during the last march of the Civil Rights Movement.  According to historian Peniel Joseph, Carmichael was “everywhere that counted in the South, a real-life Zelig; he is an organizer who had his hand in every major demonstration and event that occurs between 1960-1965.”Stokley Carmichael

Carmichael was considered one of the Movement’s most promising leaders, and worked with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to register African-Americans in Alabama and Mississippi to vote.  Although he spent the early 1960’s agreeing with nonviolent protests, he began to reconsider those methods.  Eventually Carmichael disagreed with the practice and said, “In order for nonviolence to work, your opponent has to have a conscience. The United States has no conscience.”

About Power, Lebrone says, “With these recent incidents of police brutality against the Black community, decades of racial and economic tension coming to a head, and this latest terrorist attack in Charleston against Black people at a bible study at the African Emanuel Episcopal Church, it is clear that the racial injustice we were confronting in the 60’s is still very much a part of our lives. Racism is a disease. This play is a critical dose of truth. This play wants to be part of the cure.”

Lebrone is an American actor and playwright originally from Miami, Florida, and has been involved in theatre, television and film for a number of years.  He is best known for his critically acclaimed solo show, Right to Remain…Tupac Shakur, which explores the parallels between Shakespeare’s Richard III and young Black men.

Power: Stokely Carmichael opens on July 11 during the Capital Fringe Festival, at the Eastman Studio Theatre at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.

Update: A previous version of this article listed the title of the show as Power: The Rise of Stokely Carmichael. The actual title is Power: Stokely Carmichael. Thanks to Jennifer Knight for the correction.

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