Saturday, June 13, 2009

We remember Anne Frank and Emmett Till

The reading of a play about racial intolerance was postponed last wednesday at the U.S. Holocaust Museum due to a shooting by an intolerant racist.

The Play, "Anne and Emmett," is an imaginary conversation between Anne Frank, who died in a Nazi concentration camp, and Emmett Till, a black kid murdered by white racists in Mississippi.

Playwright is Janet Langhart Cohen, wife of former U.S. defense Scretary William Cohen. Here's what she had to say about the incident:

"Our whole play is about hate, to eradicate hate, and this is an example of hatred," said the playwright, who had been heading to the museum's theater for final rehearsals ahead of Wednesday night's premiere when the attack happened.

The shooter at the museum, long-time white supremacist and anti-gubment wingnut James von Brunn, killed African-American security guard Stephen Tyrone Jones.

Janet Langhorn Cohen said that she wanted to bring them [Anne and Emmett] together in an imaginary conversation to talk about eradicating things like this. I was hoping to give voice to this tonight," she told CNN. "It's really a sad day. I love this museum. This museum tells a story, a journey of all people."

The play was planned to coincide with Frank's 80th birthday which would have been on Friday.

"It's hard to believe that that beautiful 15-year-old girl that's frozen in our memory would be 80 years old herself had she lived," said Langhart Cohen.

"And I wanted to dedicate it to her. And to think that someone of her generation still harbors that hate."

Let's hope that "Anne and Emmett gets wide distribution when it finally debuts.

Meanwhile, read the best-seller "The Diary of Anne Frank" -- or maybe re-read it. Also read the fantastic novel "Wolf Whistle" by Lewis Nordan, which is based on the 1955 Till murder.

Read 'em and weep.

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