A True American Hero
August 10, 2012
In Rudy Gray’s play, Conversation with a Kleagle…a KKK Recruiter, in performance at 13th Street Repertory, we are given a glimpse into the little known, yet extraordinary heroism of Walter Frances White.
The play takes place in the 1920’s, during the height of the lynching epidemic in America. Walter White, a black man with Caucasian features, was a journalist able to pass as a white man. He risked his life 50 times going down to the deep south to interview and expose members of the Ku Klux Klan. His aim was to change public opinion
which had tolerated, and often supported, Klan terror for decades.
Five times his true racial identity was discovered, and five times he
narrowly escaped being lynched. This play is about those times.
With the word hero so loosely passed around these days, what is a true hero? A true hero displays extraordinary courage in the face of danger and will risk physical harm or death on behalf of others. This
type of heroism is born of compassion in service of humanity. The
play at 13th Street Repertory promotes awareness of White’s extraordinary courage and his selfless service that brought to light the lynching culture in the south. White went on to head the NAACP from 1931 until his death in 1955.
Historical records often overlook African-Americans of courage,
leaving black youth with few positive role models to look up to and
emulate. And while historical records leave out information about
African-American heroes, Conversation with a Kleagle… a KKK Recruiter, preserves this little-known part of Black History through performance and discussion with the writer, Rudy Gray.
Talk-backs follow each Sunday performance. With an open forum
for discussion, new awareness unfolds between whites and blacks
as greater understanding of racial issues and tension are openly discussed.
“Conversation with a Kleagle by Rudy Gray is one of those rare shows important enough and powerful enough to warrant strong support and a large audience” writes theatre reviewer Ross Chappell at NYTheatre.com. He goes on to say, “Much of this play’s power comes from its revelation of the true face and danger of racism, often hidden behind carefully crafted personal facades or strategically controlled government positions… This play is an incredibly worthy
piece of theatre.”
Winner of the New Works of Merit Playwriting Contest, the play is directed by Robert Hunkele; produced by Merit Theater and Film Group and 13thStreet Repertory Company.
Theatre: 13th Street Repertory Company, 50 W 13th St, NYC. Thursdays at 7pm and Sundays at 4pm through August 30, 2012.
For full Information and Discounted Tickets:
ConversationWithAKleagle.weebly.com or call 917-363-2369.
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