HAUNTED play traces roots of anti-Black violence in America
The Orange County Arts Commission together with the Orange County Community Remembrance Coalition, Free Spirit FREEDOM, and The ArtsCenter, present HAUNTED, a new commissioned theatrical work by playwright and actor, Dr. Sonny Kelly. The production will air live from The ArtsCenter in Carrboro at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 27, 2021, and be available for streaming following the live production. To learn where to view the livestream event and sign up for an event reminder, visit https://artscenterlive.org/performance/haunted-presented-by-sonny-kelly/.
In the play HAUNTED, actor and playwright Sonny Kelly takes on the voices of historians, ancestors, elders, youths, politicians, pundits, and poets, as he traces the roots and routes of modern day anti-Black violence in America. Kelly recounts the roots of hatred and fear embedded in the story of the 1898 lynching of Manly McCauley in Orange County. He also tracks the routes of racialized violence in America as manifested in the colonial justice system, the Wilmington Massacre of 1898, the 2015 shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and the 2020 lynching of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia. Kelly digs deep to examine the impact that racial violence has historically had on our minds, bodies, and souls in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
HAUNTED is part of a series of events presented by the Orange County Community Remembrance Coalition (OCCRC) whose work has been inspired by the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) of Montgomery, Alabama. EJI has embarked on a multi-year project to recognize the victims and survivors of racial terror lynching in the United States, focusing on restorative truth-telling and memorialization.
To date, EJI has documented at least 4,400 African American victims of racial terror lynching between 1877 to 1950, with at least 119 racial terror lynchings documented in North Carolina during that period. Manly McCauley is one of those victims in Orange County. With HAUNTED, the OCCRC recognizes Manly McCauley and other victims of racial terror lynching and works to disrupt and overcome the detrimental systems and mindsets that have plagued America for generations, and to help usher forth a future of humanity, equity and justice for all of us.