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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943

UCM Hosts Production of 'Stories From Da Dirt" March 31

Contact: Mike Greife
WARRENSBURG, MO (March 18, 2011) – The University of Central Missouri will host the production of “Stories from Da Dirt,” a one-act play presented as part of UCM’s Women’s History Month project, at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 31, in Hendricks Hall.

The play will be presented by Music in Spirit, a group from Clarksville, Tenn., that presents African American performances based on topics such as the Underground Railroad, the Civil Rights movement and the history of African American spirituals. The performance will include a discussion session to encourage the audience to explore the issues presented in the play.

Written by Nancy J. Dawson, professor of African American Studies at Southern Illinois University, “Stories from Da Dirt” is a series of monologues depicting the lives of three African American women escaping slavery shortly after the Civil War. The characters are nameless, representing the many women living in slavery during this time period. The only named character, Elizabeth Thompson, is based upon Dawson’s great-grandmother, who escaped slavery in Missouri by fleeing to Kansas and settling in the Quindaro area of Kansas City, Kan.

Veteran actress, jazz vocalist and dancer Addie NiRuma portrays Elizabeth Thompson. Dawson joins Nashville recording artist Yoruba and New York actress, musician and educator Shirley D. Cody on stage in portraying the three women characters.

Dawson received recognition from the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, a division of the National Parks Services, for the first version of “Stories from Da Dirt,” which premiered at Fort Donelson National Battlefield in April 2009.

“Stories from Da Dirt” is sponsored by the UCM Diversity Office, the UCM Africana Studies program and the UCM Center for Women’s and Gender Studies.