Judson College to present JimmyLee, Civil Rights-era drama
As part of the Civil Rights 50th anniversary celebration of Bloody Sunday and the March from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., Judson College will present three performances of JimmyLee, the play. A fourth performance will be given in Selma to open the Jubilee celebration.
The play is a poignant portrayal of seminal events in the voting rights movement leading up to the February 1965 death of Jimmie Lee Jackson, a 26-year old activist who participated in a voting rights demonstration in Marion, Alabama. When the demonstration was interrupted by a city-wide blackout and State Troopers, Jackson was shot as he attempted to protect his mother and grandfather from violence. His death on February 26, 1965 sparked the Selma to Montgomery March and hastened the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
JimmyLee will open at 5:45 p.m. March 5 in Selma. The drama also will have three performances in Marion – at 10:30 a.m. March 5 (for schools), at 6 p.m. March 6, and at 6 p.m. on March 7 in Alumnae Auditorium at Judson College.
Produced by Judson College, JimmyLee is written and directed by Dr. Billie Jean Young, who is Artist-in-Residence and Associate Professor of Fine and Performing Arts at Judson. She has been on the Judson faculty, her alma mater, since 2006. She was in the first class at Judson that included African-American students and graduated magna cum laude in 1974. Her many accolades include winning the globally prestigious MacArthur Fellows ‘Genius’ Award.
Judson College President Dr. David E. Potts said: “Judson is very grateful to have had the opportunity to support the work of Dr. Young and her creation of JimmyLee. She is one of our most distinguished graduates.”
Young said this Judson project is a gift to the people of Marion and the region and a project of reconciliation and healing. “My life’s work has revolved around making certain that the stories of the civil rights movement are told accurately and truthfully; the only way we can have reconciliation is through truth telling,” Young said.
JimmyLee, which premiered in 2009, is in its 11th production. Actors in the cast include students from Judson, Francis Marion High School in Marion and Hatch High School in Uniontown as well as other students and adults from Selma and Atlanta, Ga.
“As accomplished as JimmyLee is, it is our very real hope and prayer that the play will continue to bring people closer together,” Potts said. “We realize there are differing perspectives in the civil rights movement, during which this community was so involved and gave so much. We are eagerly anticipating the production.”
Major funding for JimmyLee is provided by grants from the Alabama Tourism Department, Alabama State Council on the Arts, and the Black Belt Community Foundation. Key support also comes from businesses in Marion and Montgomery.
The public is invited to the four performances of JimmyLee in Marion and Selma. To buy tickets or for details or discounts for groups of 25 or more, call (334) 683-5125 or buy tickets online.
More information about the play can be found at www.jimmyleeplay.com.