CCHR’s Museum & Award-Winning Film on Psychiatry’s Harmful History a “Must-See”

CCHR’s Museum & Award-Winning Film on Psychiatry’s Harmful History a “Must-See” – African American News Today – EIN Presswire

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To Be Equal: The pulse of Black America

… social and economic status of African Americans inspired by the Three-Fifths … to change their circumstances.” But Black Americans are frustrated about their ability … race or ethnicity. Black Americans feel the sting of racism even more sharply … RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News

A ‘historical moment’: Small Umbrella Theatre, Black Arts Alliance open ‘Once on this Island’

Small Umbrella Theatre Company's official poster for "Once on This Island," a collaborative musical with Black Arts Alliance Southwest Missouri. The 90-minute one-act opens Friday May 13 at 7:30 a.m. at Drury University's Wilhoit Theatre.

Two newly formed organizations, aiming to make art diverse and accessible in the Ozarks, are collaborating on their first project: a musical production.

Small Umbrella Theatre Company and Black Arts Alliance Southwest Missouri open “Once on This Island” Friday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m. at the Wilhoit Theatre, located on Drury University’s campus at 900 N. Benton Ave. The production runs through Saturday, May 28.

“Once on This Island” is a one-act stage musical written by Lynn Ahrens, with music by Stephen Flaherty. The story takes place in the French Antilles, where a young girl uses the power of love to bring others together. In 2018, the musical won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. The original Broadway production ran from 1990-1991, and it was revived in 2017.

The 90-minute production is the first collaboration between Small Umbrella Theatre and the Black Arts Alliance.

Small Umbrella Theatre was founded in April 2021 by Springfield natives Joe and Paige Rogers.

“We were founded with three main principles,” Paige Rogers said. “The first is to prioritize women and underrepresented folks in our storytelling and roles on and off stage. The second is that we believe theater should be accessible. All of our tickets follow a pay-what-you-will model. And the third is that we pay all artists involved.”

A pay-what-you-will model allows folks to watch local productions at no cost. However, donations are what allow Small Umbrella to host these accessible productions and pay their crew.

Founded during the wake of summer 2020, The Black Arts Alliance aims to “pursue talent, offer resources and welcome opportunities” for people of color in Springfield. The organization was founded by Keegan Winfield, Imari Stout and Nki Calloway, women who knew each other through their involvement in Springfield’s theater community.

“(During summer 2020), we were kind of reflecting on what it was like for us whenever we were growing up in (the theater) environment and how difficult it was,” Winfield said. “We were seeing so many people, at that time, theaters especially, coming out and saying, ‘We are pledging to do better. We’re dedicating ourselves to be more inclusive and diverse.’ 

“We (the three founders) felt like there should be an organization (in Springfield) that’s Black led, specifically, that would not only be there to create opportunities within the community, but to also hold the community accountable to what they said they were going to do.”

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Collaborative discussion began last summer, after Small Umbrella Theatre wrapped their first show, “Little Women.”

“(Paige) brought this opportunity to Imari and said, ‘Hey, Small Umbrella is thinking of doing Once on This Island and we would really like to do it in a culturally-appropriate manner,'” Winfield said. “I’ve seen the show done in many different ways before, and (Small Umbrella) really wanted to prioritize having a BIPOC cast. And that was something we feel really passionate about as well.”

It didn’t take long after the initial reaching out that preparations began. The first step: attaining a cast.

“With a lot of musicals that you do, you have huge casting calls, but when you’re putting on a predominantly-Black production in southwest Missouri, you’re not going to have that,” Stout said. “Our population here is small.”

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Despite this initial difficulty, Stout said the production has “one of the most amazing casts” she’s ever worked with.

The 14-member cast ranges from new to seasoned performers.

“Our youngest actress is 10 years old,” Calloway said. “Everyone in the cast is a person of color, and it’s really fantastic to … watch kids grow up in an environment where that is seen as the norm, rather than the exception.”

The cast of Small Umbrella Theatre Company's "Once on This Island" poses for a photo. The 90-minute, one-act musical is the first collaboration between Small Umbrella and Black Arts Alliance Southwest Missouri. The entire 14-person cast is made up of people of color.

The story of “Once on This Island” is one everyone can relate to, Winfield said. She encouraged folks to come out to enjoy a production about love and life, while supporting two local arts organizations.

“This collaboration and a show that looks like this has not been done before (in Springfield),” Stout said. “The closest thing I could relate it to is when Springfield Little Theatre did ‘The Wiz’ in 1997 and they had a Black-led cast. But I’ve never seen a fully Black and POC cast put on a stage between (organizations) that have the values of Small Umbrella and Black Arts Alliance. It is a historical moment for this community.”

In addition to the production, the Black Arts Alliance is hosting a small art gallery from POC artists in the Wilhoit Theatre lobby that will be available for viewing before and after each show.

Tickets for “Once on This Island” can be obtained online, at, or at the event. A $5 minimum donation is required if selected online.

Greta Cross is the trending topics reporter for the Springfield News-Leader. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @gretacrossphoto. Story idea? Email her at

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VIDEO: Northern Nevada African American Firefighter Museum opens

The Northern Nevada African American Firefighter Museum is now open. The museum, also known as the Black Springs Volunteer Fire Department Museum, celebrated its grand opening Saturday, April 23, 2022.  

The event showed off the new museum, a collection of restored historic fire engines and “the story of a small unsung fire department that did big things for the North Valleys Community.”

Black Springs Volunteer Fire Department was built by the community in response to lengthy delays in firefighting response to the area. After it fell out of use, it was under the control of Washoe County which used the facility for park maintenance. 

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Now, thanks to community efforts the building has been restored and built into the small museum it is today.  

Our Story Inc. Executive Director Demetrice Dalton said that in addition to educating the community about the Black Springs history, there would also be resources for young people interested in becoming firefighters or paramedics.  

More information:

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SC man’s clothing line highlights African American history

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — When Jaquial Durham reflects on his start in fashion, he’s quick to tell the story of how he missed his own prom and used the money his grandmother gave him for a tuxedo to instead start a fashion line.

“She was upset, but that’s what I wanted to do,” Durham said.

The Clemson native would later begin work with Mr. Knickerbockers to create a line reflecting African American history to sell in its stores, but the store eventually backed out due to the designs not fitting their consumer base.

Feeling discouraged, Durham decided to take a break. Within that time, he earned his bachelor’s degree from Winston-Salem State University and two masters from George Washington University and Georgetown University. He also started a media company, Public Culture, which focuses on urban areas and rural areas through music, film, sports, and fashion and technology.

Merging his studies with his media company, he created a fashion collection that would tell the stories of Black figures and organizations at predominantly white institutions.

“On white campuses in the South, there is an untold story,” he said.

Through fashion, Durham takes the history of African American people and landmarks combined with hand-painted art to create a capsule. In addition to the capsules, Durham curated QR codes for the garments that one can scan and it provides information about the actual design.

His first collection took about two and a half years, but Durham said it couldn’t have come at a better time.

“It was perfect timing because I also was recently admitted for my doctoral degree at Clemson,” Durham said.

“And so it was perfect, to be admitted to the university, come back home and be more involved with the community.”

Durham’s collection was inspired by Dr. Rhondda Robinson Thomas’ book “Call My Name, Clemson” which takes a look at African Americans who have played a pivotal role in sustaining Clemson University and the land.

The first piece in the collection features a depiction of the Student League for Black Identity (SLBI), a student-led organization that promoted culture and history at Clemson.

Three additional pieces coming to the Clemson collection focus on Harvey Gantt, the first African American student admitted to Clemson, Littlejohn Grill, a spot where mostly Black Clemson residents would hang out, and Eva Hester Martin, a direct descendant of labored slaves on the Fort Hill Plantation.

“I decided to release them separately because I wanted to give each piece its own life story in his own life and his own time to shine,” Durham said.

Through his media company, Public Culture Entertainment Group, Durham is merging it with the Public Culture Collections and his dissertation to tell the stories of Black history and culture at Clemson University through the format of a documentary.

Durham has plans to release more collections to feature other universities in the South, including the University of Florida, the University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University, the University of Georgia, the University of Alabama and more.

For more information about Durham’s line, visit