TybeeMLK and Tybee Post Theater celebrating Black History with music, movies and discussions

TybeeMLK Human Rights Organization and Tybee Post Theater joining together to present “THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE – IN COLOR.” 

The organizations are presenting programs at the Tybee Post Theater over four days that observe the important role played by African Americans in the nation’s history and its culture—the achievements as well as the challenges.

“We hope that by partnering with various organizations, we can come together and have frank conversations about all types of topics. The Tybee Post Theater is a place for all and we welcome people with varying views to enter our space and have kind and considerate discussions about all types of issues. Having partnerships creates a stronger and more vibrant community,” Said Evan Goetz, Executive Director of the Tybee Post Theater.

On Wed., Feb. 16 at 6 p.m. there will be a panel discussion about the Weeping Time. This event is free but a ticket is required to attend. A panel of Panel experts will reflect on and discuss the history of Georgia’s largest auction of the enslaved. The auction took place in 1859 on the Ten Broeck Race Course in Savannah.

“Savannah is obviously rich in history. However, when history reflects a time that includes difficult subject matter, we tend to avoid the topic, or rather creative divisiveness around it,” said Goetz. “The purpose is to come together experience the common thread that binds us as humans.”

On the panel, Dr. Amy Potter, Geology and Geography professor at Georgia Southern University (GSU), using various academic studies will discuss the ways enslavement has historically been commemorated in the U.S. in order to place present-day efforts surrounding the Weeping Time within a larger national and international context.

Griffin Lostson, of Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters, will discuss life as a slave. 

Dr. Maxine Bryant, Gullah-Geechee Center and GSU, will touch on the legacy of enslavement. Dr. Kara Sweeney, GSU, investigates the legacy of slavery in the Tybee and Lazaretto Creek area and Savannah Post 1 at Large Alderwoman Kesha Gibson-Carter will speak on the Weeping Time as well.

“When creating and crafting a panel to discuss the importance of The Weeping Time, we hold a mirror up to our own thoughts, prejudices, and ideologies,” said Goetz. “These reflections allow us to hold space for tough conversations and give us chances to show empathy toward a time that was quite horrific.”

On Thurs., Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. there will be a screening of the 1967 movie “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” In the film, a white couple’s attitudes are challenged when their daughter introduces them to her African American fiancé. The movie stars Sidney Poitier, Katherine Hepburn, and Spencer Tracy.

On Friday, Feb. 18 at 6 p.m. there will be a screening of the 1959 movie “Imitation of Life.” In the movie, an aspiring white actress takes in an African American widow whose biracial daughter is wanting to be seen as white. The movie stars Starring Lana Turner, Sandra Dee, Juanita Moore, and John Gavin.

“Both films were selected to not only showcase powerful acting performances, but also to reflect society in a different period. However, those who watch the films will draw distinct lines to then and now. Issues of interracial marriage and racial identify are still relevant in today’s society,” Goetz said.

Both film screenings will be followed by a Q&A moderated by sociologist, author, lecturer, and educator Dr. Bertice Berry. Tickets for both screenings are $5.

On Saturday, Feb. 19 at 2 p.m. there will be a free workshop on music and the civil rights movement. In his book, Why We Can’t Wait, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “freedom songs are the soul of the movement. They are more than just incantations of clever phrases designed to invigorate a campaign... [they are] the sorrow songs, the shouts for joy, the battle hymns and the anthems of our movement.”

Social justice singer songwriter Crys Matthews will lead a discussion about the ways in which she uses music to, not only call out, but to also call in.

“I believe in hope,” Matthews said. “As a social-justice songwriter, it is my duty to keep breathing that hope and encouragement into the people who listen to my music.”

Matthews, along with her partner on and off stage, fellow social justice singer-songwriter Heather Mae, is the co-recipient of the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance’s Artist-Activist of the year award.

 At 8 p.m. on Feb. 19 there will be a concert by Matthews. Matthews blends Americana, folk, jazz, blues, bluegrass, and funk with original lyrics. 

For more information or tickets visit tybeeposttheater.org