From the Boat to Obama

From the Boat to Obama features a unique combination of music, dance, poetry and dramatic vignettes to chart the history of African-Americans in the United States. Performed by Transforming Anew, the show was highly entertaining as well as educational.

We see Africans being hunted and seized from their homeland. They are brought to America and auctioned off to slave owners. There is a portrayal of Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat to a white person on a bus in Alabama, a key moment in the civil rights battle in the 1960s. We are told about the affluent area known as Greenwood, a “black Wall Street” in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the 1920s. The community was decimated by a group of whites in a racially motivated attack. Thousands of blacks were left homeless and two black hospitals were burned to the ground.

A woman tells her young grandchildren about how the descendants of slaves became athletes, academics, authors, and politicians. The show recognized the enormous contributions African-Americans have made to the arts, including choreographer Alvin Ailey, prima ballerina Janet Collins, and poet Maya Angelou, who was “born to touch our souls,” says one of the performers. A young actor playing President Obama talks about his life and political career. Obama attributed his success to being able to obtain an education and urged children to stay in school, as well as to “accept diversity” in the world.

From the Boat to Obama featured energetic performances of soul, gospel and hip-hop music, as well as tap and ballet, and the end of the show featured a tribute to Martin Luther King.

We are reminded of how far we have come in eliminating bigotry and discrimination in this country, and how much work has yet to be done.

From The Boat to Obama runs until April 29. Stadium Theater. 28 Monument Square, Woonsocket. For tickets, call 401-762-4545.





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