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Wayne State University's Black Theatre Program Celebrates the Life of Rosa Parks

November 21, 2005

The 35th season of Wayne State University's Black Romona Lucius as Rosa Parks and Jaazmine Parker as Mary Ellen Pleasant (standing).
Theatre Program is producing Buses, by native Detroiter
Denise Nicholas, as its touring show for the 2005-2006
season. This play celebrates the lives of two women, Rosa
Parks and Mary Ellen Pleasant, whose simple yet influential
actions changed history.

Written for grades 9 - 12, Buses is a story about a
fictional encounter between two women who have both been
respectfully identified as the "Mother of Civil Rights" in
the United States. Set at "a bus stop in a dream,"
Nicholas' play intersects Parks, 1960s civil rights pioneer,
with Pleasant, an affluent African-American madam from 1860s
San Francisco, California who was also disrespectfully
dismissed from public transportation. In Buses, the women
are mysteriously thrown together in an effort to clarify and
correct history.

Nicholas is a graduate of the University of Michigan
and an award-winning actress and writer. She was
acknowledged as the Harvard Foundation's Cultural Artist of
the year in 1995 for her contributions to American Arts and
intercultural relations. She wrote Buses in 1988 and
performed the role of Rosa Parks in the University of
Southern California's production. She did not write Buses
to praise Mrs. Parks yet again for her monumental protest,
but rather to acknowledge that there is more to every life
than one single event, even if one event is what you have
been memorialized for.

"Buses is not a chronicle of her life. I humbly leave
that to the historical biographers. I wanted to imagine her
inner life, her dreams, realities, awakenings," Nicholas
said.

Directed by the Wayne State University Department of Alaina Fleming as Rosa Parks (left) and Toni V.
Theatre's Black Dramatic Literature instructor and PhD
candidate Maria-Tania Becerra, the production will showcase
two casts: Romona Lucius (Rosa) and Jaazmine Parker (Mary);
and Alaina Fleming (Rosa) and Toni V. Walker (Mary).
The troupe will travel on Wednesday mornings from January 11-
April 26, 2006. Tours include Detroit-area public and
private high schools for a fee of $350.00; an additional
$50.00 is added for traveling fees if the institution is
outside the city of Detroit. To make a reservation or
request further information, please call Nicole Young at
(313) 577-6798. We also invite you to visit our website at
www.theatre.wayne.edu.

  • Contact: Nicole M. Young
  • Voice: (313) 577-6798
  • Email: nmyoung@wayne.edu
  • Fax: (313) 577-5495
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