Theater + Dance

Ballad of Birmingham

When: Sat., April 28, 12-3 p.m. 2012

Three hours of programming Sunday at Central Library will look back on the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., which led to the death of four girls and focused the attention of the nation on the ongoing struggle for civil rights in the city. Sonny Bates opens the event with his one-hour stage production based on the Dudley Randall poem "Ballad of Birmingham," a chilling piece which opens with a folk-style call and response between mother and child: "Mother dear, may I go downtown / Instead of out to play / And march the streets of Birmingham / In a Freedom March today? … No, baby, no, you may not go / For I fear those guns will fire / But you may go to church instead / And sing in the children's choir." A panel including Dr. Derek B. King, Sr., pastor of Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church and a nephew of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., will discuss the civil rights struggle following Bates's performance. Also on the bill are Freedom Village's production "Rally Around," which explores the issue of voting inequality. Onsite voter registration will be conducted by the League of Women Voters, and a representative from the Marion County Election Board will answer questions about the voting process.

Price: Free.

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