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Experience Bayard Rustin and James Baldwin | Freedom Fighters & Friends

Friday, February 14, 2014
DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Celebrates Black History Month

The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) is pleased to join with the Black History Month Celebration Committee to present Bayard Rustin and James Baldwin |Freedom Fighters & Friends on Monday February 24, 2014, from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM at Arena Stage, 1101 6th St SW, Washington, DC. A reception with light refreshments will follow after the program.

In celebration of Black History Month in Washington DC, Bayard Rustin and James Baldwin| Freedom Fighters & Friends highlights Bayard Rustin and James Baldwin's immeasurable contribution to the advancement of black people in America through advocacy and the arts. The program will illuminate stories, chronicling Rustin and Baldwin's lives as activists, artists, political figures and friends. Staging a multimedia presentation, performance, song and poetry will be used to enhance the story, while a narrated video montage provides key facts and highlights their accomplishments.

"Our goal is to always showcase the District as a world-class cultural capital on the world stage," said Lavinia R.Wohlfarth, Acting Chair of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. "This cutting-edge program celebrates the legacies of Bayard Rustin and James Baldwin in a new way and brings attention to Washington's thriving and diverse arts.

"Bayard Rustin and James Baldwin |Freedom Fighters & Friends honors both of these important civil rights activists," said Lionell Thomas, Executive Director of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. "Their commitment to highlight the struggles of African Americans during the civil right era is best demonstrated through their passion for the arts. They represented strong men of valor and courage."


Solomon Howard

A native of Washington, D.C., bass Soloman Howard is in his third year of the Washington National Opera's (WNO) Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program. This season with the WNO he appears as Alcade of Hornachuelos in The Force of Destiny and Sarastro in The Magic Flute. He will also sing the role of Colline in La Bohème at Opera North Carolina. Last season at WNO he appeared as Joe in Show Boat, Il Commendatore in Don Giovanni, and as Muhammad Ali in the world premiere of Approaching Ali.

Theodore Snead

Theodore M. Snead has appeared in area productions with regional theatres like Folger Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Kennedy Center, Studio Theatre, Quotidian Theatre Company, 1st Stage, and Scena Theatre. His television/film credits include HBO's "The Wire," PBS's "Prince Among Slaves," and Integral Arts' "Gwendolyn Dangerous and the Great Space Rescue." He holds a BA from Howard University and a MFA from University of Alabama / Alabama Shakespeare Festival.


Unified. Dynamic. Classical. All these words aptly describe the music of Synchronicity. In every generation, there is a music group that stands out from all the rest. Synchronicity has created a unique sound that exuberantly blends classical string instrumentation "in sync" with melodious sounds of the flute along with African-based funky percussion. This blend has been taking audiences by storm and leaving them clamoring for more

Charles Reese

Charles Reese plays, Jalel, the sardonic foil on the hit webisode, "WHO" at www.ajakwetv.com (created by Emmy Award winning writer, Michael Ajakwe, Jr). Reese received kudos for his portrayal of Raphael in St. Joan & The Dancing Sickness by Julie Hebert (Numbers and Ruby's Bucket of Blood) at the Open Fist Theatre/First Look Festival in Los Angeles. He is a native of Washington, D. C. who received his Bachelor's Degree from Morehouse College. He is best known for his critically acclaimed Off-Broadway performance in James Baldwin: A Soul on Fire by the late playwright Howard B. Simon (5 New York Audelco Award Nominations).

Dolores Kendrick

Native Washingtonian Dolores Kendrick was appointed Poet Laureate of the District of Columbia on May 14, 1999. She is the author of the award-winning poetry book The Women of Plums: Poems in the Voices of Slave Women, published in 1989. In 1996, a CD of music inspired by The Women of Plums was released, and Kendrick adapted the book for theatrical performance in Cleveland, and at the Kennedy Center. The adaptation won the New York New Playwrights Award in 1997. Kendrick's other books are Through the Ceiling, Now Is the Thing to Praise and Why the Woman is Singing on the Corner: A Verse Narrative. The Library of Congress has recorded her poetry for its Contemporary Poets series. Kendrick's rich history of poetic contributions to local and national publications has earned her numerous awards and honors, including a National Endowment for the Arts Award, the George Kent Award for Literature, the prestigious Anisfield-Wolf Award. She has received two Yaddo Fellowships and a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship.  Her book Why the Woman is Singing on the Corner was selected by poet and critic Grace Cavalieri as one of the five best books of poetry of 2001. In July of 2002 she was given a special Fulbright Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Education and Literature. Ms. Kendrick was also one of the original designers and teachers at the School Without Walls, a high school in Washington, DC. In November 2007 Ms. Kendrick was invited to Aix-en-Provence, France to work with French senior High School students studying English and Poetry. As a result, she has established a sister-city initiative with Aix-en-Provence, to exchange poetry between French and DC students. The program launched in 2009. During the Aix initiative time period, she was invited by the American Embassy in Paris to work with French students in Paris.

In 2012, Ms. Kendrick has been commissioned by Renato Miracco, Cultural Attache' of the Italian Embassy, to work on a project dealing with contemporary Italian poets and photography. That includes a poem by Ms. Kendrick on Rome. She works out of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities where she runs a series of poetry programs for secondary school students, established and emerging poets, an awards program for high school students and offers readings to senior citizens organizations and homeless community centers. In addition, she leads an ongoing initiative to bring poetry into the workplace.

Princess Mhoon Cooper

With work commissioned by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Princess Mhoon Cooper has been called "a visionary of her generation." Known for her chameleon-like quality, Mhoon Cooper's movement seamlessly connects modern, ballet, hip-hop, and African dance styles, and has been seen nationally and internationally. She is an experienced dance educator and has taught throughout the United States and abroad. Mhoon Cooper has served on faculty at Howard University and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance and a Master of Arts degree in Public History from HU. Her research focuses on Dance History and the African-American experience in dance. Princess Mhoon Cooper had been recognized as one of Dance Magazine's 2006 "Top 25 to Watch" in the world for her Choreographic Development Project titled This Woman's Work. A native of Chicago, Illinois, she began her training with Alyo Children's Dance Theatre, Joseph Holmes Dance Studio, and Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago. Mhoon Cooper has received numerous awards and scholarships for her excellence in dance including recognition from the American Dance Festival, Dance Magazine, Howard University, Career Transitions for Dancers, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She has performed and toured with the world renowned Ronald K. Brown/Evidence Dance Company, Rennie Harris Puremovement, The Chuck Davis African American Dance Ensemble, Nathan Trice Rituals, and Deeply Rooted Productions. She is the founder of DANCING FEET, an integrated arts program that includes classes and workshops for schools and outreach institutions.


Reverb is an award-winning Washington-area a cappella vocal group who sings Gospel, R&B and pop. Since its birth in 1991, Reverb has performed along the East Coast and has toured East and Southern Africa, the Persian Gulf and the Caribbean. The group has performed its rousing version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" for fans of the Washington Wizards and Mystics, DC United, the Washington Nationals and Bowie Baysox, and the Philadelphia Eagles. Each school year, Reverb performs "Black History in Harmony," an educational musical program the group created for K-12 students.  Using Gospel music as a tool, they also teach vocal music at an elementary school in DC. Reverb was selected among 150 entrants and 18 finalists to perform for the first time in the National Cherry Blossom Parade in April 2014

About the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities

The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities provides grants, professional opportunities, education enrichment, and other programs and services to individuals and nonprofit organizations in all communities within the District of Columbia. The Arts Commission is supported primarily by District government funds and in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.