Bryan Barrows during a presentation of "Who Was Martin Luther King?"
In celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Limestone College will host Bryan H. Barrows for a performance of his original one-man show entitled "Who Was Martin Luther King?"
The event, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled for Monday, January 16, at 11:00 am in the College's Fullerton Auditorium.
In the production, which Barrows is touring throughout January and February, tells the story of the evolution of the civil rights movement and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s place in it. Barrows, a master of storytelling, has been performing the original play since 1988.
In the story, Barrows portrays Aaron, an old man who is appalled to learn that his grandson doesn't know who Martin Luther King, Jr. was. Aaron decides that it is his duty to educate the boy. "What has happened to the dream when the dreamer is no longer with us?" Aaron sighs as he begins his tale.
As the story progresses, we relive life in America in the '60s: Rosa Parks, The Montgomery Bus Boycott, the riots, The March on Washington, and the final days of the assassinated civil rights leader. A high point is Barrow's presentation of King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
Barrows has performed at colleges and educational institutions, churches, libraries, and museums across America. "My most amazing audience was at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin--" he said, "--there were over 1,500 teenagers at the program . . . I was surprised at how much they got into the show. They caught all of the jokes--even the ones that adults sometimes don't!--and they were very knowledgeable about Dr. King, the Movement and, of course, Malcolm X . . . a man mentioned extensively in the play."
"I feel that the message in 'Who Was Martin Luther King?' is for us all to understand the miracle in the concept of nonviolent social action."
Barrows continued, "King believed that it could help to eradicate the world's ills . . . I do too. This program is a reminder however, that the battle for justice and fairness did not end with the death of Martin Luther King. The clarion call still exists for those of us who are committed that King's dream of a united America must become a reality. We have a duty to fight racism wherever we find it---but not with retribution and retaliation. This is my way of doing it."
Barrows, Professor of Speech Communications at North Harris College, was recently honored with the Faculty Excellence Award. He wrote the docu-drama while he was an assistant professor of communications at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas. The project took six years of research and is a combination of anecdotes and traditional history coupled with obscure facts and colored with characterizations. He utilizes humor, irony and Homeric storytelling styles to illuminate African American life in America.