The Herald Bulletin

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Local News

January 27, 2014

Paramount Theatre hosts Black History Month series

Storytellers to illustrate Underground Railroad, WWII, Civil Rights eras

ANDERSON -- Audiences will have the opportunity to step back in time and see the evolution of the Civil Rights Movement at the Paramount Theatre.

The theater is hosting a Black History Month Celebration Series, which will include shows in January, February and March to show the progression of equal rights.

The series kicks off with “Stories from the Underground Railroad” at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Storytellers Bob Sander and Deborah Asante will illustrate the story of a white Quaker boy and a young Southern slave girl who eventually cross paths.

“At some point those two meet and then they have to decide, contrary to everything they believe, that they have to trust the other person,” Sander said.

The story includes other characters, all of which are played by Asante and Sander. The two don’t dress in costumes, instead illustrating the events through their storytelling.

The pair said some historical figures, such as Henry Box Brown, are included in the story, but the main characters are composites of various people from that era.

The second performance in the series will be “Tuskegee Airmen of World War II,” which is based on research and interviews gathered from airmen. That presentation will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 20.

Asante will return for the close of the series March 19. She’ll tell the story of the Children’s Crusade of 1963 from the perspective of a young black girl in Birmingham, Ala.

The presentations will show families different parts of the country’s history through effective, meaningful storytelling, Asante said.

“I think it brings it off the page,” she said. “(The audience will) think and feel it deeper in their hearts than just the dates and facts.”

Gayle Jones Burris, executive director of the Paramount, said the theater tries to hold events every year in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Black History Month.

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