URI student group to capture history with Crossing the Color Lines

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KINGSTON, R.I. — February 18, 2011 — From Then to Now: Crossing the Color Lines is an original live production that will offer a new perspective on three eras of American history. The unique show will be presented at the University of Rhode Island on Tuesday, Feb. 22, from 7 to 9 p.m., in the Memorial Union Ballroom, 50 Lower College Road. The event is free and open to the public.

The show is based upon three eras of history: Slavery, Harlem Renaissance and the Civil Rights Movement. The story of each era will be told through the works of historical composers, writers and more. Participants will present poems, speeches, perform songs, dances and play instruments that represented their times.

Within the program, video will be shown to explain the origin of Black History Month, to show the Harlem Renaissance at its finest and aspects of the Civil Rights movement in action.

Organized and produced by the new student organization, Classy Leaders Achieving Student Services (CLASS), the show is designed to entertain, but also to inform the community of critical points in African American history. The event is co-sponsored by the URI Student Affairs Diversity Fund and the African American Studies department.

According to Brandford Davis, a senior majoring in communication studies, this is the first time that a show like this has been presented and it’s the first time that CLASS has held a show for Black History Month.

“We’ve worked with faculty in African American studies, communications and more to create a program that would help to educate the audience on the uphill battle African Americans faced. We want to bring a sense of understanding and togetherness for the celebration of Black History Month,” said Davis.

The purpose of CLASS is to help develop diverse student leaders. The group creates events and activities with a hands-on approach to help improve the culture on campus.