CLARENDON COUNTY - The year was 1947. A black farmer, Levi Pearson, was living in the Davis Station community when he asked the Clarendon County Board of Education for gas to fuel a school bus so that his children as well as neighboring children …
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CLARENDON COUNTY - The year was 1947. A black farmer, Levi Pearson, was living in the Davis Station community when he asked the Clarendon County Board of Education for gas to fuel a school bus so that his children as well as neighboring children wouldn't have to walk nine miles to school. Although Pearson's request was denied, it fueled what was to become the landmark decision to end segregation.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the landmark desegregation lawsuit of Briggs v. Elliott, in 2004, the Charleston Stage presented "The Seat of Justice," a play that brought the struggles from a half century ago to life.
"My family is from Clarendon County," said Julian Wiles, author of The Seat of Justice. "My grandmother lived in Davis Station. I grew up on a cotton farm, and I didn't know until I was an adult about Briggs v. Elliott."
Wiles said the play is narrated by the late Ruby Cornwell, a leading civil rights advocate, who saw firsthand what happened in the courtroom from her seat in the front row. Cornwell was in her 90s when she narrated the play, Wiles added.
"It's a remarkable story," Wiles said. "It tells the story of the real heroes who changed the world."
Wiles said while the original play took stage in 2004, it was revived in 2016.
"I hope this finds you all safe and well during these challenging times," Wiles said. "As a gift to our community, Charleston Stage plans to live stream a recording of our 2016 production of The Seat of Justice over Easter weekend."
To view "The Seat of Justice," viewers can log onto https://charlestonstage.com/seatofjustice.
The website also offers viewers background information, photos and music from the play and a section where viewers can "Meet the Cast."
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