Black Inheritance: The Time Traveler’s Black History

By: Jean Darnell *w/stage cues

Leaders portrayed as Narrators 

Former President and First Lady, Barack and Michelle ObamaStage Pic.PNG

Coretta Scott King

Jesse Owens

Wilma Rudolph

Langston Hughes

Zora Neale Hurston

Harriet Tubman

Akhenaten & Nefertiti

Host

(We can begin with modern art displayed: Jean Michel Basquiat.)

MM = Mike Miller

KK = Kellie Karavias

*only narrator & host enter Stage Left (SL)

Begin w/CLOSED CURTAINS! Cameron is at the podium!

PREP 24 KARAT

Host: Good evening friends and family. Tonight, we’re going to take you on a journey through history, not just Black history, but our history. Through the eyes of our time travelers, we will retell the struggles and triumphs of our leaders. Please enjoy!

Barack Obama: My fellow Americans, I bet you’ve never missed me so much in your life? (pause for laughs) I’m back from vacation and Michelle and I would like to thank you for all of your love and support! I know that it seems like our country has taken some backward steps, but both of us are here tonight to show you that “where greatness is born, greatness will be achieved.”

Michelle Obama: Can we get an “Amen” for that? (pause for applause) I want to begin by saying that our 8 years representing our great nation was a bittersweet dream. We accomplished so many firsts: universal health-care, improved school nutrition, captured bad guys and protected our environment.

PREP CURTAIN OPEN

BO: But tonight isn’t about me or Michelle. It’s about our LEGACY! Each one of us have needed a helping hand along the way. Let’s journey back to see the changes we’ve had to overcome and how we must work together so that everyone can live their dreams at the mountaintop.

MO: He’s always so full of hope and philosophy! (pause for laughs) To celebrate our modern-day accomplishments, here’s our first stop on the streets of our hometown Chicago! (Exit BO/MO, SR)

CUE OPEN CURTAINS.

PREP CURTAIN CLOSED

PREP BAND TO HALLWAY/WAIT FOR CUE

(Mr. Porter’s 24 Karat performance.)

CUE CLOSED CURTAINS.

CUE BAND ENTRANCE.

**Miller musical interlude

Host: Before the artistic freedoms of modern day, our leaders had to protest, march and shine the light on our plight for equality and justice for all. Is that Mrs. King I see over there??

(Enter Mrs. Coretta Scott King, SR)

PREP CURTAIN OPEN

Coretta Scott King: I see such a beautiful sea of diversity! I’m so glad to be here. We all know that struggle is a never ending process. Freedom is never really won. You earn it and win it in every generation. You all are newcomers to my generation. This is how we earned our inheritance and stained our legacy for the goodwill of all people, whether they are immigrant, Black, Jew or Muslim or otherwise. Observe our excellent generation. (Exit CSK, SR)

Band Performance

TURN TO NEXT PAGE FOR THE BEGINNING OF THE EXCERPT FROM “GONNA LET IT SHINE!”

Host: Wasn’t that powerful? (pause for applause/confirmation) Now before we marched and picketed our cause, we represented our inheritance any way we could. We learned to read and write behind closed doors. We performed for any audience that would give us a chance. There goes Zora and Langston!

Zora Neale Hurston: Though sometimes we feel that we’re discriminated against, don’t let it change you, Langston. Just stand back and look in astonishment. Anyone that chooses to deny themselves of your company is the loss soul.

PREP CURTAIN OPEN TO RED MARK.

Langston Hughes: But Zora, it’s just tiresome. I too am American. I’ve never known another land. Why can’t they see that I’m beautiful in my own light. I don’t want to dim their light, but want to let me own light shine. Is that too much to ask? (Exit Zora and Langston, SR and Host exits SL)

CUE OPEN CURTAINS TO RED MARK.

PREP CURTAIN CLOSE.

PREP OLYMPIC MUSIC.

(“I too am American” recital, exit SR)

CUE CLOSE CURTAINS.

CUE OLYMPIC MUSIC.

(Enter Host, Jesse Owens and Wilma Rudolph from SR)

Host: Are you enjoying this experience or what? Look who I found floating in the black matter of time travel...Jesse Owens and Wilma Rudolph. In 2016, we celebrated the Olympics. What did winning the gold medal mean to each of you?

Jesse Owens: Well, when I won the medal in 1936, I stood inside Nazi Germany. My nerves were all over the place. The word democracy had such a more poignant meaning. Though I didn’t have the freedoms I wanted back home, I did have the liberty to represent my country as an athlete. I let my world records do the rest of the talking!

PREP CURTAIN OPEN.

Wilma Rudolph: I couldn’t agree more Jesse. It’s because of you that this sickly girl from Tennessee broke out of her leg braces and followed your blazen trail 30 years later! We are living proof that we shall overcome disabilities, discrimination and despair! Our ancestors, born slaves, risked it all for freedom! Look over there! You see that light in the darkness??? (Fade to black, exit all 3.)

CUE OPEN CURTAINS.

(Harriet Tubman, looking to the stars and carrying a lantern, helps former slaves escape to freedom.)

PREP CURTAIN CLOSED.

PREP CHOIR STAND.

Harriet Tubman: Look to the stars, kinfolk! Those are the eyes of our ancestors guiding us to the promised land. Every African King and Queen rises up to the heavens. C’mon now...hurry!

CUE CLOSED CURTAINS.

(Choir hums “Lift Every Voice and Sing” Negro National Anthem)

CUE OPEN CURTAINS.

(Enter King Akhenaten and Nefertiti, from SR)

King Akhenaten: Good Evening people from another land and time. I’m King Akhenaten, and this is my beautiful Queen, Nefertiti. As King of Egypt, I taught my people that life and death lies in the powerful rays of the sun. We grew from a people of many gods to only one. But above all else, remember that it was King Akhenaten that embraced the arts!

Queen Nefertiti: Yes, my beloved King! You’re the father of bright, artistic children. You are the first king to believe in only ONE GOD. Our family is strong because the leader is a patron of the earth and all it’s mighty beauty. You wrote the “Great Hymn to the Aten.”

PREP DANCE MUSIC.

King Akhenaten: You know my favorite verses are…

The countries of Syria and Nubia, the land of Egypt,

Thou set every man in his place,

Thou supply their necessities:

Everyone has his food, and his time of life is reckoned.

You yourself are lifetime, one lives by you.

All eyes are on [your] beauty until you set.

The Lord of crowns,

Akhenaten, great in his lifetime;

(And) the great Queen whom he loves, the Lady of the Two Lands,

Nefer-nefru-Aten Nefertiti, living forever. (*exit Akhenaten/Nefertiti, SR.)

CUE DANCE MUSIC.

PREP CURTAIN CLOSED.

(The play ends with the beating of drums and African inspired dances.)

CUE CLOSE CURTAINS .

Host: This concludes our time travel. We hope you enjoyed our program. Black History belongs to all of us. Good night!