Commissioned by The Working Theater
directed by Bill Mitchelson
music composition and direction by Olu Dara
with Robert Arcaro, Paul Butler, A. Benard Cummings, Guy Davis, Larry Keith, James Murtaugh, Harold Perrineau Jr., Monte Russell, Howard Samuelsohn, Mark Kenneth Smaltz, Myra Taylor
On February 12, 1968, African-American sanitation workers, members of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 1733, struck the Memphis Department of Public Workers. Prior to the strike, newly elected Mayor Henry Loeb had refused to negotiate with Local 1733’s president or to recognize the union. Within weeks, the city’s African-American community, under the leadership of 150 black clergymen, united to defend and support the sanitation workers. I am a Man tells the story of this fight for workers’ and civil rights that erupted into riots and culminated in the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“A gripping new play by OyamO . . . Bill Mitchelson has assembled a first-rate cast and mounted an evocative production . . . the play takes unflinching aim at the often vitriolic feuds between the militant and the nonviolent arms of the civil rights movement and the liberal Jews who marched beside them.” Wilborn Hampton, The New York Times, May 20, 1993