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The Parchman Hour

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In the fiery first months of America's civil rights movement, waves of young people, mostly college students, rode buses into the heart of the Deep South. Many were brutally attacked, arrested, and imprisoned in Mississippi's notorious Parchman Farm Penitentiary, where they invented an ingenious pastime to help them endure, a live variety show inspired by programs then popular on radio and television.

Jokes, stories, singing and Bible readings sprang from every cell. This nightly event became known as The Parchman Hour. With characters such as Stokely Carmichael, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, The Parchman Hour honors an important piece of history. Written and directed by North Carolina-based artist Mike Wiley to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Riders' journey from Washington, DC to New Orleans during the heart of the Civil Rights era.

The Parchman Hour embodies CRFT's deepened focus on bringing its audiences accessible but challenging works that stimulate discussion even as they entertain.

Pre-Show Conversations

Made possible by an Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

Join us before each evening performance (except opening night) at 6:45 p.m. for a lively and informative pre-show talk about this production. These talks will give insight into the time period of the play, the historical characters and music of The Parchman Hour.

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