New Jersey native, author and entrepreneur Stedman Graham and NJ's Secretary of State Reverend DeForest Buster Soares, will join with New Brunswick's Crossroads Theatre in honoring six New Jersey black towns in a special ceremony at 1 PM April 24.
Communities being honored include Lawnside, the only incorporated town of the six; Whitesboro, named for George Henry White, the last former slave to serve in Congress; Gouldtown, probably the nation's oldest free black community, settled by black men who married white women; Springtown, an Underground Railroad stop settled in 1700's by free blacks and fugitive slaves; Timbuktu and Magnolia.
Graham will speak on growing up in Whitesboro and each community will be presented with a placque by Crossroads Theatre. The ceremony is open to the public. A matinee of Lost Creek Township will follow.
Set in Indiana after the Civil War has ended, Township is the story of a prosperous "all-colored" town thrown into turmoil when an African American stranger is accused of murdering a white sheriff. Other plays by Gibson include Dawn and Still Dark, Valentine's Day (When Kisses Just Don't Cut It) and the Joseph Jefferson Award-nominated The Temple.
Originally presented last year at Crossroads Theatre's Genesis Festival, Township received an award from the Kennedy Center Funds for New American Plays as well as being co-sponsored by AT&T On stage (sponsors of 1999 works like Ain and David Gordon's The First Picture Show and Michael John LaChiusa's Marie Christine). Reggie Montgomery (Spunk, The Colored Museum) directs Cedric Turner, Elizabeth Van Dyke (Zora Neale Hurston), David Wolos Fonteno (OB's Distant Fires), Mark Gerald Douglas (Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk), Joseph Edward, Wiyatta Fahnbulleh, Avery Glymph (Hope is the Thing With Feathers), Lynda Gravatt (Helen Hayes nominated for The Old Settler), Gena Bardwell, Brian J. Coffey, Magaly Colimon, Helmar Augustus and 11 year old Somerset local Vanity Jenkins.
Tickets for the special April 24 matinee are $25 and available by calling the Crossroads box office at (732) 249-5560. Crossroads Theatre is located at 7 Livingston Ave.
-- By Christine Ehren