Full House for Premiere of "Love Songs from the Liberation Wars"

Friday, June 29, 2012

Full House for Premiere of (Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO)It was standing room only at Monday night’s premiere of "Love Songs from the Liberation Wars: The 1940's Tobacco Workers Struggle," a new musical from Steve Jones and Elise Bryant. "Love Songs" tells the story of the 1943 strike at RJ Reynolds Tobacco in North Carolina, when 10,000 workers walked out, led by Theodosia Simpson, a 23-year-old African American woman.  “In many ways, this is a labor story forgotten in history,” says Steve Jones. The strike produced a cadre of leaders that transformed the South, according to Roz Pelles, AFL-CIO Director of Human, Civil and Women's Rights.  The strikers who emerged from this labor battle taught generations of civil rights and labor activists, including Pelles, who is from Winston Salem.  One of the leaders, Moranda Smith, became the first African American to serve on the executive board of a national union. “This is also the struggle that gave us the song ‘We Shall Overcome,’" says Jones. Jones and Bryant employ five intertwining love stories to tell the story of this dramatic labor struggle, an early victory against Jim Crow discrimination. Legendary singers Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie and Paul Robeson all came down to the picket lines of this struggle in the 1940's, and they appear in the musical, which was performed by 19 singers at the Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in Kensington, Maryland. Bryant, who directed, Jones, who composed, collaborated on the successful labor jazz opera, "Forgotten: The Murder at the Ford Rouge Plant." For more info on how to be a part of building "Love Songs from the Liberation Wars," contact Jones at steve@jones88.net, or Bryant at elise123107@verizon.net.


Powered by Orchid Suites
Orchid ver. 4.7.6.