Saturday, July 5, 2008
2 thumbs and a pinky finger up for Thurgood!-An excellent Broadway Play
I just witnessed one of the most powerful plays ever! The Broadway play that I am referring to is "Thurgood." It is a one-man play performed by the very talented Laurence Fishburne. It is playing at the Booth Theatre in New's York's Theatre District.
Lawrence did an excellent job of portraying the late former Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall. So good, that at times you forgot it was Fishburne instead of Marshall.
The play chronicles that late Marshall's rise from poverty in Baltimore to his prestigous legal achievements. It starts out talking about Marshall's genealogy. In particular, the origin of his name which he inherited from his great-great grandfather "Thorny Good" who was a slave brought over from Africa to the South but was freed before slavery ended at which time he relocated to Baltimore. Thurgood was himself originally named Thoroughgood but later shortened it.
The play also explains the influence on his life by his father and his decision to become a lawyer as well as his early brushes with racism. Fishburne recounts in the first person how Marshall worked as a waiter, pullman and later decided to go to law school.
The highlight of the play is when Marshall as a then lawyer prepares for, argues and await the decision of the famed Brown vs. Board of Education in which the Supreme Court did overturn the previous, "Law of the Land," "Plessy vs. Board of Education" which allowed for "separate but equal" policies for whites and minorities in the US in terms of education. The Supreme Court ruled in 1954, that the law was unconstitutional and allowed for integration in America.
Of course, this changed the lives of many African Americans including my mother, Lottie Green Burney who was a victim of the previous law. She recounted recently how growing up in the South, the colored schools in terms of school structures, books, supplies, lack of heating and transportation were far inferior to the white schools. In fact, she recalled that she never remembered having new books, pencils, or even chalk. She says that they always got the marked up books, broken pencils and chalks that the white school children had used years before.
Anyway, Fishburne should win an award for his amazing portral of Thurgood Marshall. The play reminds the audience of what an impact this great God-sent had on the lives of African Americans and other minorities in this county. I know the late Marshall is pleased with Fishburne's portrayal of him.
So, if you get a chance, I strongly recommend that you see it. Okay, I got to go now, I'm headed off to another play this evening, a musical called, "Passing Strange." I will let you know how it goes!