Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Racism And Reconciliation In America Topic Of Play A Killing In Choctaw, January 27

Chestertown, MD, January 17, 2005 — Washington College's William James Forum, Goldstein Program in Public Affairs, and Office of Diversity Affairs present a free performance of A Killing in Choctaw, an autobiographical, one-man play written and performed by African-American activist and comedian Carl Ray, Thursday, January 27, at 7 p.m. in the College's Tawes Theatre. The public is encouraged to attend.

A Killing in Choctaw is a two-act play written and performed by Carl Ray, examining the scars he carried from witnessing his father's brutal 1962 murder in segregated Choctaw County, Alabama—the racist retaliation for the then 18-year-old Ray's having responded to a white man's questioning by saying “yes” and “no” instead of “yes, sir” and “no, sir,” the once customary responses in the segregated South. In the play, Ray takes the audience through his personal agony of being humiliated in a Jim Crow court and locked in a hotel room and harassed by eight members of the Klan the night before George Wallace stood in the door of the University of Alabama to keep black students out.

He gives the audience a peek into the struggles of being a polio victim attending grade school, the guilt that he carried for his father's death, how his father's killer became his imaginary enemy and friend, the nurturing environment at the Tuskegee Institute, and his changes in careers from engineer to taxi driver to stand-up comedian. Finally, Ray leads us through the tragedy of injustice to witness the freeing and transforming power of forgiveness.

Carl Ray is a 1967 graduate of Tuskegee Institute with a degree in electrical engineering. After graduation, he traveled to California to begin a career in the aerospace industry, but after 13 years decided to pursue his dream to perform stand-up comedy. Ray started a Youth Opportunity Program in East Palo Alto, CA, in 1968, and began recruiting youth to attend Historically Black Colleges and Universities in 1970. Ray continues to recruit and has chaperoned more than 2,000 students on HBCU tours. In 1988, Ray and his wife founded the Courtland Esteem School, a private school in San Jose, CA, where they continue to educate and mentor African-American students in grades one through six.

To learn more about Carl Ray, please visit www.carlraye.com.

For information about upcoming events at Washington College, visit the College's online calendar at http://calendar.washcoll.edu.

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