Local artists are celebrating Black History Month by putting a fresh spin on one of the most iconic figures and stories of the civil rights movement, Emmett Till. It's part of the Still I Rise" series and tells the story of the 14-year-old boy who dies in racially charged Mississippi in 1955.
It's produced by Mega-Mind Productions, an organization is comprised of local artists who strive to improve Jacksonville through their productions.
Written by Jeremy Raickett and choreographed by Samuel Hills III, actors, singers, and dancers come together to bring this show to life. The group says it aims to prove audience members with not only a lesson in history, but also with an experience which offers an emotional connection to these tragic events that will not soon be forgotten.
Organizers at Mega Mind productions reached out to Emmett Till’s living relatives through the Mamie Till Mobley Foundation, and says they are delighted that some of them will be attending the show and the VIP party. Airickca Gordon-Taylor, who grew up with Emmett’s mother and now currently runs the foundation will be flying in on March 1st according to the group, and will attend two shows. Her mother, Ollie Gordon who also was also Emmett’s cousin and lived in the same building as Emmett’s mother, will be attending all three performances.
"We feel it is important get all of Jacksonville excited about this performance because the Civil Rights Movement paved the way to where we are now," Raickett says, "And people such as Emmett Till lost their lives to move this country forward. The lessons from our yesterdays are still very relevant to our today's as young African Americans continue strive for justice."
Raickett says The concept of justice and a fair world transcends race, religion, or any other differences and can serve to unite all people instead of separate them.
"It is our goal to bring together and uplift the community through the shared experience of “Emmett,”" Raickett says.
The show will take place at the Karpeles Museum, a historic site in the Springfield area of Jacksonville built in 1921. The groups says she shows dates cap off black history month on Friday at 8 p.m. and usher us into March with performances on Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m.