(WASHINGTON, DC) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Cora Masters Barry, CEO and Founder of the Recreation Wish List Committee, today announced that the 6th Annual Blacks in Wax program will take place on Friday, February 24, at the event’s home site, the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center (SETLC), and will also have a special performance on Saturday, March 3, at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Blacks in Wax includes portrayals of over 70 influential figures from Black history, brought to life through preparation from the SETLC Scholars, parents and staff.
Mayor Gray also announced Black History Month events offered by other government agencies including the DC Public Library, the Mayor’s Office on African Affairs, and the DC Lottery & Charitable Games Control Board.
“The talent displayed by the young people from the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center is truly inspirational,” Mayor Gray said. “It is no surprise that we have such remarkable children in the District of Columbia, and I hope that residents and visitors take the opportunity to attend one of the Blacks in Wax performances as well as the other events the District has prepared for Black History Month this year.”
What started as an alternative way to educate youth about African-American history has become one of the decade-old recreation and education facility’s most successful programs. Scholars from the SETLC will portray characters ranging from Rosa Parks to The Supremes in a unique museum setting – with each character transforming from a “wax replica” to a live portrayal.
“Blacks in Wax has gone from the library in the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center to its own stage at the Kennedy Center, and we could not be more proud,” said Cora Masters Barry, CEO and Founder of the Recreation Wish List Committee. “As each scholar goes through the process, they are educated, empowered and transformed into the icons they have studied. They identify with these individuals and that fosters an amazing sense of accomplishment and self-confidence.”
This year’s vignette theme, “Movement to Monument,” presents African Americans who have played significant roles in the Civil Rights Movement. It conveys the story of those who were affected by the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the movement that led to the Martin Luther King, Jr. monument on the National Mall today.
“Our theme of ‘Movement to Monument’ is not only timely, but gives the tennis scholars another great opportunity to learn about and appreciate Dr. King’s influence,” continued Barry. “Seeing it brought to life on the Kennedy Center stage is something that should not be missed.”
Blacks in Wax matinee performances at the SETLC (701 Mississippi Avenue SE) for school groups and seniors will take place from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Friday, February 24, and evening performances for the general public will take place from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm The Kennedy Center performances on Saturday, March 3, will take place from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm All performances are free, but donations to support the event are appreciated.