Author: Spencer Phillips

THROUGH 5/21 & 6/9-17: “The Face of Emmett Till” is Perfectly Authentic at Pure Life Theatre

In August of 1955, two men abducted Emmett Louis Till from his uncle’s home in Mississippi to torture and murder him before dumping his body in the Tallahatchie River. Till was 14 years old. The men who committed these atrocities justified themselves on the premise that Emmett had flirted with one of the men’s wife, Carolyn Bryant. The men believed that because Emmett was Black and the woman was White that their crimes were valid. While these racist lynchings occurred regularly during the Jim Crow era in America, Till’s murder specifically served as a springboard for the broader Civil Rights Movement that occurred during the 1950s and 1960s because of the advocacy for justice and equality from Till’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley. Till-Mobley made the unprecedented choice to hold an open-casket funeral for her badly mutilated son, nationally exposing the inhumanity of racism in Jim Crow America. For the next nearly 50 years of her life, Till-Mobley dedicated herself to perpetuating the Civil Rights Movement so that others might not suffer her same loss. In 1999, Mobley coauthored The Face of Emmett Till with playwright David Barr III to bring to life the story of her son, her loss, and the impact their story had on the trajectory of the Civil Rights Movement in America.

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Copland, Robinson, & Bernstein Shine in Raleigh Symphony Orchestra’s Dear Friends

After a winter hiatus from full orchestral concerts, the Raleigh Symphony Orchestra returned to Jones Auditorium at Meredith College for their latest symphonic offering, Dear Friends, featuring pieces by Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, and premiering a violin concerto from local composer Bill Robinson. Dear Friends came aptly titled and timed with invigorating works welcoming the early spring and celebrating friendships between composers and performers alike. The program opened and closed with works from long-time friends Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein, beginning with Copland’s “John Henry” and ending with “Three Dance Episodes” from Bernstein’s On the Town.

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