Skyeview: Mary D. Watkins is my s-hero–important work!
November 12-24, 2009
Oakland Metro Operahouse – 630 3rd Street Oakland, 510.763.1146
CONDUCTED BY DEIRDRE McCLURE
DIRECTED BY DARRYL V. JONES
Mary Watkins’ new opera, Dark River, tells the history of the SNCC (Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee) and the biography of Fannie Lou Hamer, a central figure of the early to mid sixties Civil Rights Movement. Ms. Hamer was a prominant organizer in Mississippi and the South, and an important symbol of the grass roots civil rights struggle/movement which became an important turning point for African Americans in US history. She is perhaps best known for the quote: “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Ms Hamer’s character portrays both the ugliness of the period and the resiliency of the human spirit. She is a sharecropper, illiterate, with little formal education; in many ways the product of a system engineered to exploit her. Her story is important for various reasons on both a local and national level. The opera will present a revealing portrait, not only of the titular character, but the regional South, SNCC (Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee) and other activist movements, and the shaping effect that the summer of 1964 had on the history of our country.