Play’s Message to Teens:
Don’t let life be washout
By Robin Brown
The average kid
nowadays, “said 17-year-old Manson F. Revell Jr.,” is all
about getting high and hanging out on the corner. The
majority, they just don’t care.”
But even if life seems a
washout --- drugs, broken dreams, pregnancy, family hassles,
flunking out of school, cruising toward a jobless life on
welfare --- they can turn it around. But only they can do
That was the message of
“Stepping Into Tomorrow,” a play performed Wednesday
night as part of a celebration of Black History Month,
attended by Revell and about 1,100 other people at
Wilmington High School, Lancaster Avenue and Du Pont Road.
Performed by the New
York City-based Nucleus Theatre Company, the show has gained
national attention since its founding by Yolanda King and
Attallah Shabazz, daughters of slain black leaders, the Rev.
Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, respectively.
Sponsored by the Harriet
Tubman Historical Society, the program also included several
choral performances and individual performers.
But according to Vivian
Abdur-Rahim, the society’s director, one of the most special
parts of the evening happened in the audience.
Last year, during
a similar visit, the group played at nearby Lincoln
University in Chester County, Pa., and in Wilmington, later
taking a performance to Ferris School.
institutionalized teenagers came to the public show, with
tickets paid for by Wilmington City Council, Rahim said. She
called the change an “important move toward socialization.”
About 60 youngsters
attended the performance from Wood Haven-Kruse School, a
girls’ reformatory in Claymont, and the Ferris School for
Boys, a reformatory on Centre Road near Prices Corner.
Saundra --- whose last
name is not being used because she, like the other audience
members from the youth detention centers, is a juvenile
offender --- said the play was “very, very good. It should
be put into schools, because it shows what really can happen
when you get pregnant. It’s honest, and that’s what young
Mike called the play,
“enlightening….I felt a pride for my people and what we
Another boy added, “It
was a good way to get into black history.”
Roland T. Marshall,
director of the “Because We Care Program,” part of the
delinquency-prevention unit of the state Bureau of juvenile
“There has been too much
isolation of youth who have been incarcerated. They need to
be integrated with larger society. They get treated too much
like ‘those people,’ instead of people.”
The youths praised the
six-actor group, which also gave two shows Wednesday at
Glasgow High School, south of Newark. Others are set for
today at Wilmington and Alexis I. du Pont high schools.
Shabazz and King also
visited the Delaware Adolescent Programs Inc., 22nd
and Thatcher streets, Wilmington, and had lunch Wednesday
with girls in that program for pregnant teen-agers. Rahim,
who founded the program’s Guardian Mothers” program to pair
young mothers with older volunteer guardians, said Shabazz
and King impressed the girls as role models.
Robin Brown, Staff Reporter
The News Journal Company
Thursday, February 2, 1984