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Harmonies of Liberty & "The Baton Passes On...”

Harmonies of Liberty

An infinite chorus of individual voices have contributed their verses to the powerful play of progress. We invite you to read through the quotations below and match each one to its source.

Who Said It?

Fred Hampton • Rebecca Solnit • Malcolm X • Gregg Popovich • Sojourner Truth • Martin Luther King, Jr. • Talmud • Afeni Shakur

1. “Some people are uncomfortable with the disruption that change causes, but the disruption is necessary if anything is going to change.”

2. “We need more light about each other. Light creates understanding, understanding creates love, love creates patience, and patience creates unity.”

3. “We’re not gonna fight fire with fire, we’re gonna fight fire with water. We’re not gonna fight racism with racism, we’re gonna fight racism with solidarity.”

4. “Hope is not a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky. It is an axe you break down doors with in an emergency.”

5. “You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”

6. “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

7. “Our number one priority as far as the country and society is concerned is racial justice, actually racial injustice that exists in our country and trying to make everything just for all people.”

8. “Life is a hard battle anyway. If we laugh and sing a little as we fight the good fight of freedom, it makes it all go easier. I will not allow my life's light to be determined by the darkness around me.”

Answers at end.

"The Baton Passes On...”

The journey to create a more just and equitable world doesn’t belong to any one person, or to any one generation alone. In The Mountaintop, Katori Hall invites us to join the relay race. Our task is to pick up the baton from the ones who came before us, carry it as far as we can, and then pass it along to those who follow after.

We’ve asked our creative team, “Who do you take the baton from, and to whom do you hope to pass it?” Here’s what a few of them had to say:

“Passed from: Oscar and Angela McGregor and so many generations working for a more just world. Passed to: My children Orion and Jupiter and all those seeing the world full of justice and joy that they deserve.” —Patricia McGregor

“My mother and father handed me the baton. They raised me to have the mindset that, no matter what some may say, I am, without question, limitless.” —Amanda Warren

“From my Grandma Annette, who was unafraid to go first so that others could follow. From Nora Ephron, Wendy Wasserstein, Dawn Powell, writers whose brutal honesty and resilient humor makes me feel better understood and less alone. And to my children Sam and Andrew, who will take it to places I can only imagine.” —Rebecca Phillips Epstein

“I took the baton held by two amazing designers, Adele Farmar and April Hunter-Smiley, who with kindness and care made sure I learned correctly. I pass the baton onto my four dependable and spicy assistants who remind me daily of why I love what I do so very much.” —Mylette Nora

“I was handed the baton to carry by my mother Advira and her mother Kiziah. I was handed the baton to carry by my creative foremothers Ntzoke Shange, Zora Neale Hurston, Audre Lorde, and Lucille Clifton. I hope to pass the baton to the next generation of black female storytellers to embrace their beauty, brilliance, and bravery. Most importantly, I pass the baton to my son Brixton in hopes that I have made his leg of the race a little easier.” —Felichia Chivaughn

What about YOU? What does the “baton” represent in your own life and work? Who did you take it from, and who will you hand it off to?

Answers to Harmonies of Truth: 1. Afeni Shakur 2. Malcolm X 3. Fred Hampton 4. Rebecca Solnit 5. Talmud 6. Martin Luther King, Jr. 7. Gregg Popovich 8. Sojourner Truth

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The Mountaintop

JUNE 6 – JULY 9, 2023
Written by Katori Hall
Directed by Patricia McGregor
Featuring Jon Michael Hill & Amanda Warren

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Tony nominee Jon Michael Hill, Elementary, Superior Donuts) retires to the Lorraine Motel after delivering his history-altering “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech and encounters Camae (Amanda Warren, Gossip Girl, East New York, Dickinson), a mysterious maid with some surprising news. As a lightning storm rages outside, the legacy of America’s most revered civil rights leader is laid bare to reveal his profound humanity.

Hailed as “a thrilling, wild, provocative flight of magical realism... as audacious as it is inventive” by the Associated Press, Katori Hall’s Olivier Award–winning drama reimagines what Dr. King’s last night on Earth could have been.


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