“Freedom Summer Two” and “Micheaux” Observes Black History Month at Shades Theatre

BY GEORGE J. DACRE

William Tucker’s “Freedom Summer” was enacted at the Shades Rep Haverstraw Theatre earlier this month along with the story of one of the first black film makers in the USA.

“Micheaux,” an excerpt from “Shades Of Black,” a one-man monologue performed by Sheldon Robert and written by Shades producer/director Samuel Harps dealt with the life and struggles of Oscar Devereaux, who in the late 1880s, was an American author, film director and independent producer of 44 films.

He was deemed to be the most prominent producer of race films in the first half of the 20th century. He did both silent films and talkies after the industry changed to incorporate speaking actors. Sheldon Robert outlined the troubles Micheaux faced raising money and getting films done. It was not easy.

In “Freedom Summer,” the days when college students known as freedom riders went south to Mississippi and ran into more roadblocks of hatred, including beatings, lynchings and political hurdles as they got close to registering 100,000 black voters in 1964. The SNCC workers led the way to eventually the Voting Rights Act being enacted by Congress, but even as recent as the last presidential election, long lines were created in the South, forcing people to wait many hours to vote.

Both presentations were forceful and remindful with good casts. I rate the show Two Stars out of Four!!