Erich McMillan-McCall, a Birmingham native who is a New York-based actor and producer, envisioned sharing the story of the four girls while also bringing together theatre groups around the country to present a theatrical work.
The play, “Four Little Girls,” was written by Christina Ham, a playwright who is a Birmingham native. This week it will be presented on more than 35 stages from New York to Hawaii. The performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. will be archived on the center’s website for 30 days and will be directed by Phylicia Rashad. That live performance will be at 6 p.m. on Sunday.
“This play is about life, not death,” McMillan-McCall told BlackAmericaweb.com. “It does not pretend that these girls did not perish at the hands of homegrown terrorists. Nor does it pretend that their lives were not impacted by discrimination.”
The play, which includes black and white actors and music from the 1960s, also explores the humanity of the four little girls and discusses what may have happened in their lives if they had not faced the tragedy.
“What did Addie Mae dream? What did Cynthia wonder about? What made Carole’s heart sing? What put a smile on Denise’s face?” McMillan-McCall said. “How much did they really understand about the movement and the roles they might somehow play?”
The city also put together a traveling exhibit of old files, police arrest records, newspapers and video footage from the 1960s to commemorate this year’s 50th anniversary of 1963.
That exhibit has made stops in several major cities including, Washington D.C., New Orleans, Memphis, New York, Columbia, S.C. and Jackson, Miss.
“Long after this week has ended we plan to continue sharing the exhibit with other cities,” said Chuck Faush, chief of staff for the mayor.
“We will build on our history and continue sharing the story of how Birmingham has changed,” Faush told BlackAmericaweb.com.
For more information on commemorative events this week in Birmingham, go to 50yearsforward.com.