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s.t.a.r.t. Leadership Internalizes History at the Guthrie’s “Appomattox”

October 29, 2012

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In the photo are students Elek Harris-Szabo, Saida Mahamud, Lamia Abukhadra, Loren Towle and Sara Osman with adult coaches Abir Abukhadra and Kate Towle.  The student leaders from s.t.a.r.t. are preparing to present a workshop at the 2012 Overcoming Racism Conference.  As part of their studies, they took pause to witness and reflect on two seminal events:  the signing of the treaty to end the Civil War at Appomattox and the spark that inspired Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s protest march from Selma to Montgomery:  the shooting of Church Deacon Jimmie Lee Jackson by an Alabama state trooper.

Appomattox was an unforgettable comparison of two moments in history, showing what forces stir change over 100 years and those that hold us back.  The play has us reflecting not only on U.S. history, but also world history–the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Arab Spring and the Somali Civil War–in light of the ebb and flow of institutional power and citizen rights.  At the heart of all our discovery are issues included in the Preamble to the Constitution: forming a more perfect Union, justice, domestic tranquility, providing for the common defense, promoting the general welfare and the blessings of liberty.  As Diane Wilson, author of Spirit Car, proposed last Thursday, we’re considering these fundamental rights within the context of our country’s racial legacy, knowing what was taken away so that we may recover it.   As the advertisement for Appomattox so aptly stated, our stubborn belief in and hope for a brighter future is woven throughout our nation’s history.  It is with that stubborn hope that we are creating new history together through s.t.a.r.t.

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