The Dallas Morning News

Play brings brief meet­ing to life

- NORMA ADAMS WADE nor­ma_adams_wade@ya­

His­to­ri­ans have ex­am­ined the po­lar op­po­site ap­proaches of two of the na­tion’s most rec­og­nized lead­ers in civil rights and black na­tion­al­ism since their hey­day in the epic 1960s.

The African Amer­i­can Reper­tory Theater and the Dal­las His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety have been co-pre­sent­ing an ex­plo­ration of the sub­ject this month, and Fri­day and Satur­day are your last op­por­tu­ni­ties to see it.

The Meet­ing is a the­atri­cal de­pic­tion of an imag­ined con­ver­sa­tion be­tween civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and black na­tion­al­ist and for­mer Na­tion of Is­lam leader Malcolm X. The con­ver­sa­tion is imag­ined be­cause the two icons only met once, briefly, in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., in 1964, for about one minute and just long enough for to be cap­tured in a few now-his­toric images.

The ex­plo­ration is timely dur­ing this 50th year since King’s 1968 as­sas­si­na­tion and this week­end’s ob­ser­vance of the birth­day of Malcolm X, who would have turned 93 on Satur­day. Both lead­ers were as­sas­si­nated at age 39.

In the play, the two mar­tyrs ex­change di­a­met­ri­cally op­posed views about how to im­prove the lives of black peo­ple in Amer­ica. King, of course, urged non­vi­o­lent civil dis­obe­di­ence. Malcolm ar­gued that when at­tacked, black peo­ple should re­turn vi­o­lence with vi­o­lence.

The ex­hibit “Dal­las in the Time of MLK” will also be on dis­play in the Hall of State’s East Texas Room. It fea­tures ar­ti­facts re­lated to King’s two vis­its to Dal­las in the 1960s and to Dal­las res­i­dents who bat­tled for civil rights dur­ing the King era.

Play per­for­mances are pre­sented in the Mar­garet and Al Hill Lec­ture Hall on the lower level of Fair Park’s Hall of State Build­ing, 3939 Grand Ave. En­ter Gate 3 for free park­ing. The fi­nal per­for­mances will be at 7:30 p.m. Fri­day and 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Satur­day.

Jeff Stet­son wrote the play in 1987 and it later aired on PBS in 1989. Lo­cal ac­tress Regina Wash­ing­ton di­rects the Dal­las pro­duc­tion. Jor­dan Dragonk­ing plays King, Christo­pher Piper por­trays Malcolm X, and Dar­ren Mcel­roy plays his body­guard, Rashad. Noted ac­tress Irma P. Hall of Dal­las is AART’S artis­tic di­rec­tor.

Tick­ets are $20 and $25 and avail­able at aarepthe­ater. net (or 972-572-0998) and dal­lashis­ (or 214-4214500).

ABOUT TOWN: The Black Po­lice As­so­ci­a­tion of Greater Dal­las has a new pro­gram to help fam­i­lies and in­di­vid­u­als learn how to buy a home. The se­cond Home Buy­ing Com­mu­nity Out­reach Pro­gram sem­i­nar will be from noon to 2 p.m. Satur­day at the as­so­ci­a­tion head­quar­ters at 211 Cen­tre St.

As­so­ci­a­tion mem­bers say the new out­reach pro­gram builds on the phi­los­o­phy of com­mu­nity polic­ing, which aims to im­prove po­lice-com­mu­nity re­la­tions in ways that in­clude help­ing peo­ple re­al­ize the dream of home­own­er­ship. The as­so­ci­a­tion has part­nered with Real­tor Randy Bell and fi­nan­cial lender Ed Ta­tum to present what will be re­cur­ring sem­i­nars.

Satur­day’s event is free. Regis­ter at bpadal­ To learn more, visit bpadal­ or call 214-4217644.

 ?? File Photo/the As­so­ci­ated Press ?? Black lead­ers Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X met once, briefly, in 1964.
File Photo/the As­so­ci­ated Press Black lead­ers Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X met once, briefly, in 1964.
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