DOWN IN MISSISSIPPI - It Hurt Me In My Heart - Ellen

Author Carlyle Brown
Minneapolis, Minnesota


A gospel play with music, DOWN IN MISSISSIPPI explores the heart of the Civil Rights Movement, as three college students – an African-American man, a white woman and a white man – travel to the dangerous world of Mississippi in 1964 to register Negro voters. Along the way, they discover that they have to change themselves in order to change the world.


Time: 1964                            

Situation: Ellen, a white student from Vassar, contemplates college life and what she is supposed to do with her future. Her heart and soul have been set on fire to go “down to Mississippi” to teach and support the effort to help register black voters. 

Subject Matter: Civil Rights, Voters’ Rights, Segregation, Racism, Activism, The American South, Social Justice, History, Love, Transformation, Coming of Age

Note from Playwright

My intention is not only to make a little-known history more accessible, but to also generate a conversation between the past and the present, to encourage young people concerned with racism today to consider the personal and political motivations and the struggles of their counterparts a half a century ago.

Supplemental Information

DOWN IN MISSISSIPPI was originally commissioned by the Theater Department in the School of Fine Arts and the Center for American and World Cultures, Miami University in Ohio, home of Western Women’s College where Freedom Summer activists were trained in non-violence and made ready to face the dangerous world of Mississippi in 1964. DOWN IN MISSISSIPPI was developed with support from the Playwrights’ Center and the Guthrie Theater.

See Videos below to watch Carlyle Brown talk about the play along with actors sharing their experiences with the story.

To inquire about reading the full script, visit Dramatists Play Service.


After your purchase is complete, check your e-mail for an order confirmation and invoice. (Sometimes you receive two confirmations; check both.) The order confirmation will contain a link in blue text to a PDF containing: 

  • Full Monologue
  • Character Information
  • Important Contextual Information


According to the terms of your license, you are permitted to download the PDF 2 times only. The access link will expire 48 hours after the time stamp on the invoice.

  • Price:$2.99

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  • Source
    Full-Length Play
  • Character Age
    Young Adult (18-21), Adult 20-30
  • Character Gender Ident./Sexual Orient.
  • Character Ethnicity
  • Genre
    Drama, Play w/Music, Political Play
  • Period
  • Length
    2 min or less
  • Writer Gender Identity/Sexual Orientation
  • Writer Ethnicity
    African/African American
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Hear Carlyle Brown talk about DOWN IN MISSISSIPPI in this video originally made to raise funds for a developmental production of the play in Minneapolis.

Hear Twin Cities Actors' thoughts on what it means for them to perform DOWN IN MISSISSIPPI.

Hear Twin Cities Performer Mari Harris talk about her experience with the music and story of DOWN IN MISSISSIPPI.

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