A free staged reading of the play “FOUR LITTLE GIRLS: Birmingham 1963” will be held on Sunday, Sept. 15 at 6 p.m. in the Martin Luther King, Jr. International Chapel on the campus of Morehouse College.
Written by playwright Christina Ham and directed by acclaimed actors Afemo and Elisabeth Omilami, the reading commemorates the 50th anniversary of the bombing that took the lives of four young girls – Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley – at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., in 1963. The reading is part of Project1Voice’s nationwide, simultaneous performance of staged readings which remember how this seminal event in history helped to galvanize the Civil Rights Movement.
“As a civil rights stronghold, Atlanta is proud to join more than 80 cities to hold the commemorative reading,” said the organization in a statement.
“Project1Voice-Atlanta underscores that the bombing was a heinous, racial hate crime that fueled the advancement of the Civil Rights Movement because it occurred 18 days after the historic March on Washington where Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous ‘I Have a Dream Speech,'” the statement added.
Organizers say the reading will serve as a catalyst to help the world remember the names of the four girls. It will feature multi–generational casts of national and local theater, television and film actors. A conversation with activists and scholars discussing how this pivotal event still affects the U.S. today will follow the reading.
The reading is being held in collaboration with Project1Voice-Atlanta, Afemo and Elisabeth Omilami of Hosea Feed the Hungry, Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College, the Just Ten Consortium, The Rosa Parks 100th Birthday Celebration Committee, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), LeadersandLegends.org and the A.D. King Foundation.
Also as part of the commemoration, a Medal of Honor red carpet ceremony will also be held to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the Civil Rights Movement. Medal of Honor recipients include the Rev. C.T. Vivian, Dr. Joseph E. Lowery, Congressman John Lewis, Ambassador Andrew Young and the four girls, Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley. Members of their families and personal friends will be in attendance. To RSVP to attend the free reading, visit www.leadersandlegends.org. Seating is limited.
For a full list of locations across the country, please visit www.project1voice.org