Topdog/Underdog by Lori Parks
A darkly comic fable of brotherly love and family identity is Suzan-Lori Parks latest riff on the way we are defined by history. The play tells the story of Lincoln and Booth, two brothers whose names were given to them as a joke, foretelling a lifetime of sibling rivalry and resentment. Haunted by the past, the brothers are forced to confront the shattering reality of their future.
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An assassin snuffed out Dr. King’s life on April 4, 1968, while he led a strike of 1,300 black sanitation workers – the working poor of their day – to demand the right to have a union.
Many whites in Memphis, calling him a communist and racial agitator, said they were glad he was dead.
In this frightening atmosphere, Mrs. King and three of her children led some 20,000 marchers through the streets of Memphis on April 8, holding signs that read, “Honor King: End Racism,” “Union Justice Now,” or, simply, “I Am A Man.” National Guardsmen lined the streets, perched on M-48 tanks, bayonets mounted, as helicopters circled overhead. She led another 150,000 in a funeral procession through the streets of Atlanta the next day.
Her quiet courage and composed demeanor renewed people’s sense of pride, courage and respect for the peaceful principles the civil-rights movement stood for. In the wake of King’s death, riots spread to 125 cities, leading to the deaths of 43 and arrests of more than 20,000 people, with the deployment of 60,000 National Guardsmen to suppress the rebellion – the largest military intervention in domestic affairs since the Civil War.
Source: Michael Honey/Seattle Times (April 2nd, 2006) Added by: Colin Harris
1864 – The U.S. Senate passed the 13th Amendment (S.J. Res. 16) by a vote of 38 to 6.
1974 – Hank Aaron hits 715th home run breaking Babe Ruth’s record.
1975 – Frank Robinson of the Cleveland Indians became first black manager of a major league baseball team.
1953 – The bones of Sitting Bull were moved from North Dakota to South Dakota.