∙ Listed as one of the 'Livestreams to Watch' by The New York Times
"The American Slavery Project is teaming up with a consortium of award-winning Black theater companies, the New York Society for Ethical Culture and other allied institutions to present a series of short radio plays to celebrate Juneteenth. The performance examines African-American women’s contribution to suffrage over multiple decades and the undocumented and disenfranchised black immigrant women overlooked today." — Maya Salam, NY Times 6/18/2020
"Tony winner Phylicia Rashad will be among the stars set for Black Women and the Ballot, a presentation of three short radio plays that will be available on June 19, also known as Juneteenth, the day that marked the end of slavery in the United States in 1865. Deadline reports that American Slavery Project, a theater company devoted to stories about slavery, the Civil War and Jim Crow by Black writers, is partnering with 11 additional theater companies for the special presentation." — Lindsey Sullivan, Broadway.com 6/15/2020
"A number of businesses and institutions announced official plans to celebrate Juneteenth this year amid nationwide protests against systemic racism, and lawmakers in the Senate are drawing up legislation to make it a public holiday. (“People at large are finally beginning to understand that there’s this holiday that black people have been celebrating for a long time,” Tate laughed.)" — Tim Balk, New York Daily News 6/19/2020
"Actress Phylicia Rashad is lending her voice to a new audio play about Black women and the battle for the right to vote. “I am the elder who is remembering her parents trying to vote, not being able to vote because there were not voter’s rights in those times,” says Rashad. The Tony Award winner is known for her roles in “The Cosby Show” and “This is Us.” She says that understanding the history of voting rights is important, especially in today’s social climate." — John Bathke, News 12 New Jersey 6/18/2020
"History tends to record the words of the mighty; it’s often up to artists to imagine the thoughts and feelings of the powerless... The American Slavery Project conjures the realities and the dreams of individual lives that had been lost to the ages." — Laurel Graeber, NY Times, 11/2/2017
"Black Women and the Ballot will depict rebellions large and small mounted by Black women to progress voting rights, which seems especially important as 2020 marks the 100th anniversary year of Women’s Suffrage. The performances can be accessed from the American Slavery Project website, on ASP’s YouTube channel and through Crossroads Theatre’s website Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET." — Evan Real, The Hollywood Reporter 6/15/2020
"Available on Juneteenth, a day that marks the end of slavery in the United States, the timely and relevant plays will be available on American Slavery Project website and YouTube channel as well as Crossroads Theatre’s website and partner social media. The event will end with the actors sharing what voting means to them, followed by a live talkback hosted by American Slavery Project on their YouTube Channel. Phylicia Rashad will be featured in Judy Tate’s intergenerational drama Pulling the Lever." — Dino-Ray Ramos, Deadline 6/15/2020
"The evening will examine the relationship between America and Black women voting in this 100th anniversary year of Women's Suffrage, shedding light on African-American women’s contribution to suffrage over multiple decades and the undocumented and disenfranchised Black immigrant women overlooked today." — Dan Meyer, Playbill 6/19/2020
"Black Women and The Ballot marks Crossroads’ entrance into the virtual space of theatre performance since COVID-19 swept in changing our lives, our livelihood and our leisure,” said Anthony P. Carter President of the Crossroads Board of Trustees. “We are proud that our first production on a virtual platform spotlights the very important and timely topic of voting and we encourage our patrons and supporters to join us,” Carter added." — New Jersey Stage 6/6/2020
"Dramatist Judy Tate conceived the “American Slave Project” so black writers could tell the story. “We studied the burials at the African ground, we looked at the contents of the graves, talked to scholars,” Tate told WCBS 880’s Jane Tillman Irving. “And we gave voice to these anonymous, African-descended New Yorkers from colonial times,” Tate explained. The play, called “Unheard Voices,” gives formerly anonymous slaves individuality, personality, and above all, humanity." — Jane Tillman, CBS New York, 2/18/2016
The Gist of Freedom
Praise for Unheard Voices...
“That was a STUNNING show last night! You really pulled it off. Congratulations!!!!”
— Kia Corthron, Playwright
“There was so much about last evening that sets it apart and above anything I have ever seen. You have started something that can take us all in a new direction in terms of understanding our history, our shared experience in this country and in our motherland… This is the best I can do in expressing the inexpressible. Congratulations and onward; I’m running along beside you with my support and deepest determination for greater success with this project and the direction it can move theatre/history/personal memory/healing/understanding”.
— Brenda L Thomas, Owner, The Garden Nanny
ARTIST TALK with Angela Robinson and Messeret Stroman Wheeler (for American Slavery Project, Black Women and the Ballot: 3 Short Radio Dramas, 2020). Click here to listen now.
Hear Messeret and Judy Tate in their radio interview with Soul Lounge Primetime about American Slavery Project’s 2019 Play Reading Series “ABC’s: African-Americans Bondage through Crow.”Click here to listen now.