Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe celebrates Black History Month with ‘WBTT Voices – A Community Conversation: A Vision of Equality’

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Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe celebrates Black History Month with ‘WBTT Voices – A Community Conversation: A Vision of Equality’
SARASOTA, FL – The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) announces its 2015 WBTT Voices program, which is presented on February 5 in honor of Black History Month. This year’s topic is “A Vision of Equality,” a stimulating panel discussion about W.E.B. DuBois’s 1903 vision of creating an aristocracy of leaders among the most able 10 percent of black Americans through higher education and involvement in social change. What has been the impact of his vision through the decades, and how has life changed for African Americans in the past 112 years? Panelists and guests alike will be asked to consider and weigh in: Is DuBois’s concept of “The Talented Tenth” still relevant?
Panelists are: Vivian R. Johnson, Ed.D., best-selling author, retired educator and expert in family/school/community partnerships; Neil P. Phillips, Principal, Visible Men Academy, a charter school for African American boys in Manatee County; Charles Smith, playwright and Distinguished Professor of theater and playwriting, Ohio University; and Dr. Bernard Watson, Academic Vice President, Temple University, and President, William Penn Foundation. Moderator is Vickie Oldham, former reporter and television host at WWSB ABC News 7, assistant V.P. Institutional Advancement, Albany State Univ. and founder/director of “Looking for Angola” project.
The “WBTT Voices” program was launched last year, with the program focusing on entertainers involved in the Civil Rights Movement. The topic was tied to the WBTT show playing at that time, titled “Harry and Leona.” This year’s program takes place during the run of “Knock Me A Kiss,” a fictionalized account of the real-life story of W.E.B. DuBois and his family. “Knock Me A Kiss” playwright Charles Smith is participating as a panelist.
Executive director Richard M. Parison, Jr. is looking forward to this year’s “Voices” offering. “Black History Month provides the perfect platform to dig more deeply into the people and issues that have shaped the African American experience in our country,” he said. “While the ‘Voices’ program enables us to have meaningful discussions about issues specifically related to African-American culture and history, these discussions also touch on universal topics that speak to all people. We hope members of the community will attend and join in.”
Takes place on Thursday, February 5, 2:30-4:30pm at the WBTT Theatre (1646 Nate Jacobs Way, Sarasota). Free and open to the public but space is limited; RSVP by calling (941) 366-1505.
About Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe: 
The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe of Florida, Inc. is the only professional black theater company on Florida’s West Coast. The mission is to produce plays that promote and celebrate the African-American experience, attract diverse audiences, while using its productions as a vehicle for supporting African-American artists and building the self-esteem of African-American youth. For more information on WBTT, visit the website at westcoastblacktheatre.org or call (941) 366-1505.
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