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Award-winning playwright, Jeff Stetson, often wondered what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X discussed when the two major black leaders met briefly on a cold afternoon in March, 1964 at the Capitol in Washington, D.C,   Civil Rights Movement historians believe that it was the only time the two men ever met face-to-face.

Did they talk about the directions and tactics that African Americans needed to pursue for equality?  Did they talk about the differences in their style as leaders?  Did they talk about their personal lives, inclusive of wives and children that they rarely saw?

On Saturday, Feb. 27, “The Meeting” comes to life at Prairie State College’s Barnes & Noble College Auditorium, 202 S. Halsted St. in Chicago Heights, IL.  Showtime is at 7:00 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.)  Tickets are $10.

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Directed by Chicago native, Dexter L. Overall, the one-act, three-person, one hour-and- 20-minute production is presented by The Protégé Club of Prairie State College.  The actors are Will Bryson (King), Don Snipes (Malcolm X), and Sonny Cruz (Malcolm’s bodyguard).  The secret meeting story takes place in a Harlem hotel suite, where Malcolm rested before his fateful appearance at the Audubon Ballroom.

“The playwright used words drawn from the two men’s actual speeches, writings, philosophies, and television appearances, to put together a script which captures Dr. King and Malcom’s views of civil and human rights through their respective eyes and philosophies,” said Overall.  “I’m honored to have the opportunity to direct this incredible production, especially in my hometown.”

King was an American Baptist minister, activist, author, orator, humanitarian, and major leader of the Civil Rights Movement.  His philosophy to advance the Movement was by engaging followers in acts of nonviolent civil disobedience, such as protests, demonstrations, marches, sit-ins, and boycotts.  His “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington in 1963 has been called one of the greatest and most memorable oratory presentations ever delivered.  He is the recipient of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize.  King was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tenn., while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel.

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Malcolm X, born Malcolm Little, was a prominent Black Nationalist leader, who became a minister and national spokesman for the Nation of Islam in the 1950s and ‘60s. He later evolved to embrace what he viewed was true Islam.  Thus, in 1964, he started two organizations:  Muslim Mosque, Inc. and The Organization of Afro-American Unity. He was proactive in his fiery confrontations with white America and vowed to fight for the rights of black people, by any means necessary. The Autobiography of Malcolm X, (as told to Alex Haley) remains a mega-classic of African American literature.  Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965, while delivering a speech at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan, New York.

For more information about “The Meeting,” contact Sean Smith at 708.709.3912 or email him at ssmith@prairiestate.edu, or contact Dexter L. Overall at 708.581.6862 or email him at dexterloverall@gmail.com.  Tickets can be purchased at the door.

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