One-Man Play, Read-In, Banquet Highlight Black History Month

COLUMBUS, Ga. - Award-winning actor, singer, writer, poet and Yale graduate Daniel Beaty will perform his acclaimed one-man play, Emergency, at University Hall auditorium on Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 12:30 p.m.

This keynote event of Columbus State University’s Black History Month Celebration is free and open to the public.

Also part of Black History Month at CSU is a Feb. 18 African-American Read-In and the annual Black Applause Banquet on Feb. 26.

Formerly titled Emergence SEE!, Beaty’s 43-character play portrays reactions to the sudden appearance of a slave ship near the Statue of Liberty in present-day New York Harbor.

“I'm telling a very specifically African-American story, but everyone of any race can find themselves in this story,” said Beaty in a recent interview with popular talk-show host Tavis Smiley.

In his play, Beaty uses poetry, song, and humor to comment on what he has described as an extremely heavy topic for the modern-day black community: slavery. On his Web site, Beaty states he “has always been interested in what it means to be free, and defines freedom as “the ability to lead a joyful and peaceful life.”

Travis Chambers, Daniel Beaty In Emergency, Beaty examines the question of freedom through his wide-ranging cast. Characters range from ancient ghosts, to children, and even include a republican business executive. “It’s a real picture of the whole African-American community,” Beaty told Smiley.

Emergency had a sold-out debut in New York City. In 2007, the show received the Obie Award for Outstanding Writing and Performance, an off-Broadway theater award. It was also selected as one of New York magazine’s top three shows of 2007. Since then, Beaty has performed his award-winning performance across the nation.

Columbus State University Libraries will host the African-American Read-In at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 18 in the Schwob library’s first-floor forum area. CSU students, faculty, and staff will read from works by African-American authors. On Friday, Feb. 26, the university will hold its 27th annual Black Applause Banquet in the Cunningham Center’s Blanchard Hall. A 6:30 p.m. reception will be followed by dinner at 7 p.m.

A CSU Black History Month tradition, the event will feature recognition of outstanding local high school and CSU students and the presentation of the Dr. John Townsend Achievement Award to a local individual or service group, in honor of Townsend, the first African American to enroll at CSU. The keynote speaker will be Travis Chambers, real estate broker for ERA Elite Ventures Realty of Columbus. The company came about when ERA Real Estate merged its Columbus office with then-Elite Ventures Realty, started by Chambers, who had built a 22-agent team and was recognized as in the top four percent of Coldwell Banker agents nationwide.

The banquet is presented by CSU’s Office of Diversity Programs and Services. Tickets are $30. For more information on Daniel Beaty’s performance or the Black Applause Banquet, call 706-568-2273.