The May 14, 1961, Mother's Day celebration in Bynum, Alabama, planned by the adult children of Lorean Stephens, is overshadowed by the attack of white supremacists on a Greyhound bus bound for Anniston, carrying not only Freedom Riders, but also Lorean's youngest daughter. The convictions of the Stephens' family are put to the test when plans unravel, secrets are revealed and the stranded bus is firebombed on the side of the road. No one is prepared for the impact of the hate and injustice growing in Calhoun County. Lorean Stephens will always remember this Mother’s Day.
Time: Mother`s Day weekend, May, 1961
Situation: Katie, an ER nurse, and her family learn that her younger sister Chrissy is returning home to Calhoun County for Mother`s Day on a Greyhound bus, carrying Freedom Riders. Chrissy’s bus is targeted for attack by white supremacists. Katie witnesses the stranded bus firebombed with the riders being beaten while exiting the burning bus. Her sister is clubbed as she exits the bus. Katie cares for her unresponsive sister at the hospital and confides to her the reason she became a nurse.
Subject Matter: Grief, Compassion, Confession, Love, Memory, Sisters
Note from Playwright: I watched various documentaries of the Freedom Rides and read Raymond Arsenault's book Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice. I wanted to write a play that reflected the impact of racial struggles on everyone in a community and the unforeseen consequences of hate and prejudice.
Supplemental Info: See Videos below to watch one PBS documentary and hear an NPR Fresh Air Interview with the book author that inspired the play SING ME TO THE OTHER SIDE, from which this monologue is taken.
The full script SING ME TO THE OTHER SIDE is available to read on MonologueBank.
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