Anne Fielding


The People of Clarendon County and the Answer to Racism Book cover, The People of Clarendon County, edited by Alice Bernstein

Excerpts from the recently published The People of Clarendon County: A Play by Ossie Davis with Photographs and Historical Documents, and Essays on the Education that Can End Racism, edited by Alice Bernstein and published by Third World Press of Chicago, are being presented at many libraries and schools. On January 14, 2009, this presentation was a feature of Western Connecticut State University's Martin Luther King Day celebration. The book's jacket explains:

Clarendon County, a rural community in South Carolina, was the battleground of Black sharecroppers, domestic workers, laborers and clergymen who joined with the NAACP to fight for better schools for Black children. This small but mighty group of brave visionaries filed their lawsuit, Briggs v. Elliott, in 1951. This was the first of five cases that led to the breakthrough 1954 Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education.

In 2004, the research of Alice Bernstein, a respected journalist, led to her discovery of the play The People of Clarendon County, a seminal work by Ossie Davis. It had been performed only once in 1955 by the young actors Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis. Bernstein, moved by the tenacity and wisdom of the people of Clarendon County in their fight for equality, and with Davis's encouragement, has published this important work...adding essays based on Aesthetic Realism which explain the cause of and answer to racism.

Portions of the Ossie Davis play are performed by students and professional actors accompanied by a thrilling presentation of the Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method by educator Monique Michael, author of one of the book's essays on how racism can end. She shows how prejudice can change through this exciting method based on the principles of Aesthetic Realism and its explanation of the cause of all human injustice and cruelty--the desire for contempt: "the lessening of what is different from oneself as a means of self-increase as one sees it."

Educators and audiences are tremendously stirred and speak of the power of this presentation to change people, and how much it is needed by the whole country.

To get the book from Barnes & Noble, click here

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