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Storyteller presents tale of Montgomery Bus Boycott

Posted on January 28, 2003

West Coast actor, playwright and storyteller Awele Makeba will bring her critically acclaimed presentation, Rage is Not a 1-Day Thing! to West Michigan audiences on Tuesday, January 21. The performance, held at 7 p.m. in the Cook-DeWitt Center on Grand Valley State University's Allendale Campus, is one of the events held in commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The play is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by Grand Valley's Women's Center, Multicultural Affairs Office, and School of Communications. Call (616) 331-2177 for more information.

Makeba's 90-minute performance combines theater, oral history, and music to examine the untaught history of the 1955-56 Montgomery Bus Boycott that has become a cornerstone of American mythology. The story is told primarily through the voice of 15-year-old Claudette Colvin, who refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Ala., bus nine months before Rosa Parks was arrested for the same act. Colvin, who became the star witness in the federal court case that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, shares the stage with 10 other characters, including 18-year-old Mary Louise Smith, JoAnn Robinson of the Women's Political Council, and Rosa Parks. Based on oral histories, interviews, court transcripts, and memoirs, Rage explores the impact of segregation and helps audiences understand the continuing influence of racism.

Based in Oakland, Calif., Awele (ahWAYlay) Makeba (muhKAYbuh) is an award-winning artist who has captivated audiences from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to the Whistler BC, Canada Performing Arts Series. She has performed in countries around the world, including Russia, Australia, Taiwan and France. (See more at

MLK March
Other Grand Valley events commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. Day include a Campus March through the Allendale Campus led by civil rights activist, comedian and author Dick Gregory. The march begins at 2 p.m. on Monday, January 20 at Zumberge Library.

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