Actress Phylicia Rashad, best known for her role on "The Cosby Show," is stepping offstage to direct a play that highlights an important moment from the civil rights movement.
Rashad directed “Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963” at the Kennedy Center on Sunday, a performance that marked the 50th anniversary of a church bombing in Birmingham. Four girls died in the bomb blast, an event that pushed forward civil rights legislation, Yahoo! said.
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Rashad said she wanted the play to expose the “sanctity of joy, human existence and the value of all life,” according to The Associated Press
“Four Little Girls” was written by Christina Ham and students from Howard University and the Duke Ellington School of Arts in Washington took on the play’s roles, the AP said. Rashad graduated from Howard.
The performance was one of many events around the country that honored the girls who died in that bombing. Church bells rang in Birmingham to commemorate the event, and many gathered to share memories about the tragedy.
“It is a sad story, but there is a joy that came out of it,” Sarah Collins Rudolph, who was at the church when the bomb went off, told Reuters
. Her 14-year-old sister died in the explosion, and Rudolph was partially blinded.
“I will never forget walking over their dead bodies,” Rudolph said.
The four girls who died received a posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor last week, Reuters said. U.S. Attorney general Eric Holder spoke at the service.
“Millions called for – and helped to secure – the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, which empowered the Justice Department to fight unjust attempts to abridge voting rights and restrict access to the franchise,” he said. “This is a fight we will continue.”
Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. Secretary of State, attended the ceremony. Her childhood friend was one of the victims.
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