A long-time Alabama A&M University faculty member will join a local cast depicting the clergy in the Red Mountain Theatre Company’s dramatic interpretation of Martin Luther King’s internationally noted “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” The performance will be held Sunday, November 3, at 3 p.m. at Lee High School Main Stage Theatre in Huntsville, Ala.
Dr. Edward Bond, professor of history and the journal editor of the top-notch Anglican and Episcopal History, is part of a distinguished group of Huntsville-area men who will portray the ministers who wrote King during the turbulent trials of the Civil Rights Era some 50 years ago, imploring him to let the authorities handle things. Their letters spurred the later slain martyr to write his masterpiece, “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Bond and seven others boldly stepped forward to help bring history to life through a production offered totally free.
The Rosetta James Foundation, which honors active volunteerism annually among individuals at least 70 years of age, is partnering with the Red Mountain Theatre Company of Birmingham to bring the play to the community. The Huntsville performance is but one stop on the Company’s ambitious 50-show tour. Portions of the play will be read by Dr. Bond and other local talent, added Dr. Dorothy W. Huston, president of the Foundation’s Board.
“Our students will have a chance to work with professionals in all aspects of theatre, from performance to all phases of technical production,” commented
Vivienne Atkins, theatre manager at Lee High School. “We are proud to partner with the Rosetta James Foundation and Red Mountain Theatre Company in
presenting this production.” The Theatre Department at Lee High School is home to Huntsville City Schools’ Performing Arts Magnet program.
Five decades ago, white clergymen from various denominations in the Birmingham vicinity wrote a letter to Dr. King, who had been jailed following a march, urging him to allow local authorities to deliver justice rather than utilizing protests. On April 16, 1963, however, King was moved to respond to the ministers’ plea with a powerful, eloquent letter which has become required reading in many high schools and universities.
The role of King will be portrayed by Red Mountain Theatre Company principal actor Cecil Washington. Community participants from the Huntsville area will read the parts of clergymen, says Huston.
Local participants (alphabetically) will include Kenneth Atkins, retired businessman; AAMU’s Edward Bond; Atty. Julian Butler of Sirote and Permutt; D. Scott McLain, managing broker, Coldwell Banker Commercial McLain Real Estate; Tim Singleton, Jr., president and CEO of Worthington Federal Bank and whose father was a friend of Dr. and Mrs. King (see photo above); Allie Swann, retired accountant and esteemed Rosetta James Foundation Elder; retired engineer Chuck Vedane of Interfaith Mission Service; and Lowell Zoller, retired engineer.
“Not only is our Foundation named in honor of a woman whose efforts in ensuring voting rights have positively impacted many,” commented Huston, “but the esteemed group of elders who keep the dream alive through their continued volunteerism make this sponsorship worthwhile.”
For additional information, contact Dr. Dorothy W. Huston, Rosetta James Foundation, at (256) 536-9717.
- Jerome Saintjones
Dr. Edward Bond, professor of history at Alabama A&M University, will portray a member of the clergy in the Red Mountain Theatre Company production of “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (November 3, 2013, 3 p.m., Lee High School Main Stage Theatre – FREE).