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Dramatic Reading & Discussion: “XIX”
March 20 @ 10:30 am - 12:00 pm
XIX is a play about the role of Black women in the suffrage movement that led to the 19th amendment; written by Jacqueline E. Lawton, a faculty member in the Department of Dramatic Art, UNC-Chapel Hill.
Synopsis of the Play
In 1920, while many in North Carolina favored granting women the right to vote, there was fear the 19th Amendment would open the doors to greater rights for the state’s Black citizens. Set in Raleigh, North Carolina, XIX follows Adelaide, a Black suffragette, and newlywed into the wealthy, white Germaine family. With access to the political and social elite of Raleigh, Adelaide plans to use her position for the betterment of the Black community. She recruits her best friend, Florence, to enlist black women in the fight for suffrage as states across the country ratify the 19th amendment. On the night of North Carolina’s historic (and unsuccessful) vote, Adelaide learns that her sister – and mother-in-law have been working quietly to undermine her efforts. In the aftermath of this betrayal, Adelaide must choose between her marriage and her activism.
Jacqueline E. Lawton’s socio-political drama focuses our attention on the women of an early twentieth-century multi-racial family as they navigate the fight for equality, the compromises of coalition building, and the limits of “family” love across racial and class divides.