April 17, 2002
Story by Ken Woodley of the Farmville Herald – – April 17, 2002
FARMVILLE-The words of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will be brought to life Tuesday evening during a program commemorating the 51st anniversary of the historic April 23, 1951 strike by students at R. R. Moton High School.
Actor Tony Cosby will re-enact several of Dr. King’s most famous speeches during the program which begins at 7 p.m. at the Moton Museum and is free and open to the public.
Event chairman Randy Williams believes those in attendance will leave having felt the impact of the slain civil rights leader’s words.
Williams, who say Cosby perform as Dr. King at H-SC, said he was most impressed by the amount of research the actor did to learn “all the special little traits and characteristics” of Dr. King.
And, Williams added, “the passion he put into the actual speech.”
“The words are powerful,” Williams said of Dr. King’s writing skills, “but the way they are presented, Tony really amplifies the whole speech.”
Two of Dr. King’s most famous speeches-“I Have A Dream” and “I’ve Been To The Mountaintop”-will be included in the program, which will also feature a performance by Tribute, a vocal ensemble from Richmond.
Cosby’s performance at Hampden-Sydney College was “well received,” Williams said, “by the community here.”
A Richmond native, Cosby has been an educator and actor for two decades and is the founder and director of
Theatre & Company in Richmond. He has appeared on the stage and screen, the latter including films directed by Tim Reid and Debbie Allen.
The Tuesday, April 23 re-enactment of Dr. King’s speeches, the Moton Museum believes, is both an appropriate way for the museum to honor the historic 1951 strike against separate and unequal school conditions for African Americans and to fulfill its broader mission.
The assassination of Dr. King, Williams points out, also occurred in April-April 4, 1968-and, while not directly related, museum officials believe there is a very definite “tie-in.”
Dr. King, in fact, came to Farmville in the 1960’s and spoke at First Baptist Church about civil rights in education.
The student strike in 1951 led to the County’s involvement in the historic Brown v. Board decision by the United States Supreme Court in 1954 to end segregation in the nation’s public schools.
Williams also hopes those returning to their homes following the event Tuesday night see that the Moton Museum is working to fulfill its mission, “doing things to educate people about civil rights…not only African American civil rights but for all people, as a center for the study of civil rights in education.”
The Moton Museum, said Williams, H-SC’s Assistant Dean of Students for Intercultural Affairs and Residence Life, looks forward to Tuesday night’s program being “the first of many events at the museum.”
(Tuesday’s program is sponsored by the Moton Museum; the Minority Student Union of Hampden-Sydney College; the local chapter, Zeta Alpha Alpha, of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity,, Inc.; Mc Donald’s restaurants; and Kroger stores).