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"The People of Clarendon County"

The People of Clarendon County is a groundbreaking short play written in 1955 by Ossie Davis and appearing in print for the first time in the book by journalist, Aesthetic Realism Associate, and editor Alice Bernstein. The publisher is Third World Press (Chicago), the respected independent black-owned publishing house founded by Dr. Haki Madhubuti.
     In her introduction, Alice Bernstein tells of the conversations with Ossie Davis in 2004 that led to the unearthing of this play and the idea for the book. With Mr. Davis's encouragement, she gathered documents and photographs about the unsung heroes of Clarendon County that make history come alive, and essays by authorities on the education that can end racism: Aesthetic Realism, founded by the philosopher and critic, Eli Siegel.
     Here through the art of the drama, the beloved actor, activist, and author Ossie Davis (whose bio appears at the right) gives life to a pivotal, little known chapter in Civil Rights history. We meet the Reverend Joseph DeLaine and other courageous African-American parents in South Carolina who, in the 1950s, fought against racial inequality in education. They risked their lives to file the first legal challenge to segregation in the public schools — one later combined with other cases in the landmark "Brown v. Board of Education."

 

The book launch took place at Harlem School of the Arts in 2007, joined by Ruby Dee who told of being in the one and only performance of the play in 1955 -with Ossie Davis and Sidney Poitier at Local 1199. 
Drama students performed the play and diverse speakers told how racism ended in their lives through the study of Aesthetic Realism.

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