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.
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.
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.
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