Right after the mid-winter break, on February 24, my students went to Queens College to attend the stage reading of the new play “Freedom High” by Adam Kraar. The multi-racial cast was composed of students alongside professional actors in an experiential learning opportunity for all, including the audience. During our pre- and post-visit activities and throughout the play, our students were able to learn about the struggle for the Civil Rights from the very participants of these historic events.
According to the performance producers, “In Neshoba County, Mississippi in June of 1964 three Civil Rights workers, James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman, a student at Queens College, were brutally murdered. The story of 50 years ago focuses on a week when black Civil Rights veterans trained hundreds of white volunteers to work in Mississippi registering black voters. Jessica Kuplevsky, a white woman who signs up for the training, has no idea what dangers lie ahead. Through her eyes, the play tracks a variety of characters—volunteers from all over America including Civil Rights workers and ministers, as well as racists from Mississippi. With the news of the deaths of Chaney, Schwerner and Goodman, Jessica faces a terrifying test of faith. “
Asher Hashmi, 9th grade:
The play was very realistic. At some point I thought I was in the past, and the scenes were very interesting. I loved the story of the play, and it was on the event that happened in the past, so I feel sad for the way black people were mistreated then.
Christian Yu, 9th grade:
The stage reading of the play “Freedom High” was actually realistic. I feel like I was in 1964 to see how the Whites hated the Blacks. When I first saw the play, the protagonist named Jessica tried to help Henry, an African-American. Then, people started to call Jessica a “N-Lover”. It was really scary. The performance was all about drama, romance, and friendship. They affect the people (actors and actresses) and the others around them. I think the performance was more realistic than ever.
The play production for “Freedom High” was beautiful. There was a scene inside a church, when the lighting in the background represented “The light of the Lord”. The conclusion to the play “Freedom High” was like a speech given to the public. Jessica and her friends wanted to end this “nightmare”, so Blacks and Whites could be equal. This ending was amazing.
Here is an opportunity, which is open to the public, to learn more about Queens College 50th Anniversary Civil Rights Project.