NewsJune 11, 2021
Black Theatre Troupe of Upstate New York Present Camp Logan
Commemorating the events of Juneteenth, Black Theatre Troupe of Upstate New York (BTTUNY) will present a virtual reading of Celeste Bedford Walker’s searing historical drama, CAMP LOGAN. The play chronicles the story of six Black U.S. soldiers and the incidents leading to the tragic 1917 racially-charged riot in Houston, Texas that left dozens dead or wounded in the streets. In the aftermath of what was deemed a mutiny by the military courts martial, 19 Black soldiers were executed by hanging and 47 were sentenced to life in prison without parole. The reading will air beginning June 19 at 5PM and remain available for streaming through the 22nd at 10PM.
CAMP LOGAN chronicles an event that is considered one of the most controversial instances of racial bias in military history. When the Third Battalion’s all Black Twenty-fourth United States Infantry Regiment was deployed in Houston, its soldiers were immediately confronted by the Jim Crow laws that governed life in Texas. White workers at the camp demanded separate drinking fountains, streetcars were segregated and the police openly harassed and used gun fire in several minor skirmishes with soldiers. The flash point came when the police humiliated and brutally beat a young Black woman and one of the unit’s soldiers. Plans to retaliate went into motion and days later, 156 armed Black soldiers marched into the Houston San Felipe neighborhood, where a battle with police resulted in the deaths of eleven civilians, five police officers and four Black soldiers.
BTTUNY Artistic Director, Jean-Remy Monnay, directs the reading and says of the play, “It’s very powerful and I think we can really get very involved in this story because the playwright, Celeste Bedford Walker, helps us see the events through the lives of these regular people, who are like us in many ways. It’s much, much more than a history lesson.”
CAMP LOGAN playwright, Celeste Bedford Walker, has written more than 40 plays and has been recognized by the U.S. Congress for her historical contribution as a producer and author of works that bring to light lost stories of African American history. Her numerous awards include, The Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP Awards for Best Playwright/Best Play; the National Black Theatre’s August Wilson Playwriting Award for significant contributions to Black and American Theatre; New York’s AUDELCO nominations and awards and the NAACP Image Award for CAMP LOGAN.
The cast includes: Preston Edmunds as Joe Moses; Emmett Ferris as Sgt. McKinney; Donald – The Soul Man – Hyman as Jacques “Bugaloosa” Honore; John Johnson as Charles Hardin; Aileem Penn as Robert Franciscus; Majestic Tillman as Gweely Brown; Brian Toal as Captain Zuelke and Evan Jones as Townsman and Stage Directions.
The reading will start airing on June 19 at 5PM and continue through June 22 at 10PM on all of theREP’s Streaming Platforms Proctors Collaborative YouTube channel, on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Roku – search and download the Collaborative Studios app or through the Open Stage Media On-Demand Channel. The reading is free, but there is a suggested donation of $15. All proceeds go directly to the work of Black Theatre Troupe of Upstate New York, a not-for-profit organization.
The reading is in collaboration with Capital Repertory Theatre, with Margaret E. Hall, theREP’s Associate Artistic Director serving as Associate Producer with editing by Collaborative Studios.
For more information, contact the Black Theatre Troupe of Upstate NY by calling 518.833.2621
or emailing BTTUNY518@gmail.com.