Teens celebrate Black History Month with ArtPlay performance

“Lessons Well Learned” pays tribute to the heroes of the Civil Rights Movement through song, dance, spoken word and poetry.

The talented teens of the ArtPlay Make It Happen Performing Ensemble will portray legends of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement in an original play, “Lessons Well Learned,” on Feb. 16, 2013.


“Lessons Well Learned” is a celebration of the fight for equal rights that takes a look at those iconic times. It includes Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and Dudley Randall’s poem “Ballad of Birmingham,” which pays tribute to the victims of the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church.

The play includes songs that resonated throughout the movement, such as “Wade in the Water,” “Hold On,” “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round” and “His Eye is on the Sparrow.” The performers will portray Civil Rights legends who fought for equal rights, including King and his wife Coretta Scott King, the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, Andrew Young, Rosa Parks, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Viola Gregg Liuzzo, Fannie Lou Hamer, Vivian Malone Jones, Eleanor Roosevelt and Angela Davis.

The ArtPlay Make It Happen Performing Ensemble, under the direction of ArtPlay Teaching Artist Alicia Johnson, features local high school students who have researched and written this original production celebrating Black History Month. Packed with memorable songs, spoken word and dance, the story is brought to life by the ensemble through performances using voices of the past and present to tell a story that inspires and educates.

"Lessons Well Learned"
11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013
Reynolds-Kirschbaum Recital Hall
1200 10th Ave. South

“Lessons Well Learned” will be performed at 11 a.m. and again at 1 p.m., Feb. 16, 2013, in the Reynolds-Kirschbaum Recital Hall at UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, 1200 10th Ave. South. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 children. Call 205-975-2787 or visit www.AlysStephens.org.

Students participating in this year’s ensemble are: Alaynna Pruitt, Jo’Leshia Simpson and KaLyn Williams of Ramsay High School; Ben Cane of Crossroads Christian; Chelsi Law, Dalia Ramos and Kenya Embry of Minor High School; Ebonee Johnson and Miaya Webster of the Alabama School of Fine Arts; E.J. Grant of Gardendale High School; Keri Kinnell of Holy Family Cristo Rey High School; and Sabeen Noorani of Bumpus Middle School.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is a proud partner with the City of Birmingham in 50 Years Forward, the ongoing 50th anniversary commemoration of the seminal events of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. UAB is joining with others to mark this enduring legacy in a way that looks to the future – to sharing new knowledge that benefits society, to advancing the cause of human rights while educating tomorrow’s leaders and to improving quality of life for all. Learn more at www.uab.edu/50yearsforward.