Festival of Ideas and Curriculum Integration | February 10 -14, 2020
Festival of Ideas
Mike Wiley
Mike Wiley is a playwright, director, and actor. His plays explore the lives and legacies of historically-important figures including Emmitt Till, Jackie Robinson, the Freedom Riders, and Henry "Box" Brown. Wiley has a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was the 2010 & 2014 Lehman Brady Visiting Joint Chair Professor in Documentary Studies and American Studies at Duke University and UNC Chapel Hill. Wiley will perform Breach of Peace on Friday, February 14th, 2020. The play is based upon true accounts of surviving participants of the Freedom Rides and others involved in the early struggle for African-American equality.
Students often learn more if they can connect emotionally to the theory, concepts, and ideas they are studying. One way to create an emotional spark in your students is to connect them to people who feel passionately about the issues your are exploring. For this year's festival of ideas, we're encouraging faculty to integrate these public lectures and performances into their spring courses. Below you'll find additional, readings, films, interviews and activities that can supplement the Breach of Peace Performance.
Breach of Peace
February 14, 7:00 pm
Millennium Center Ballroom
Ifa Bayeza's poem is based upon the 1955 murder of Emmett Till, a 14- year old African-American boy from Chicago, IL. While on vacation in Mississippi, Till was accused of flirting with a white women which led to his lynching. An all white jury found Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam not guilty of Till's murder.The two men later admitted to their guilt in the kidnapping, torture and murder of this young boy.

More than 400 Americans participated in the Freedom Rides of 1961. These brave, interracial teams of "riders" sat on buses and trains without regard to the Jim Crow era seating restrictions. Arsenault's work recounts the experiences and sacrifices the Freedom Riders experienced during 6 months of their protests.

Born in Louisa County, VA, Henry Brown escaped from slavery by nailing himself inside a wooden crate. More than 27 hours later, he arrived in Philadelphia, PA in an attempt to secure his freedom. This is his self-authored narrative of his life in slavery, the cruelty of his masters, and his eventual escape to the North.
This podcast (from Wiley) recounts the story of two slaves from Macon, Georgia who escaped in December 1848, traveling by train and boat to arrive in Philadelphia on Christmas Day.

This segment of the Civil Rights documentary series, Eyes on the Prize, includes footage of Emmitt Till's funeral, excerpts from the murder trial and the announcement of the not guilty verdict. This episode of the series also details the peaceful resistance of the Montgomery Bus Boycotts.

In 2012, PBS released this documentary detailing the life of abolitionist, William Still. Still taught himself to read and write, worked as a clerk for the Philadelphia Anti-slavery Society, and eventually used his own home to help nearly 800 slaves claim their freedom.
The Freedom Riders Interview Collection contains 124 raw interviews (and transcripts) from the American Experience Documentary of the same name. Diane Nash, Moses Newson, John Seigenthaler, and Representative John Lewis are among the activists interviewed in this collection.

Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) was founding in 1989 by Bryan Stevenson, attorney and author of Just Mercy. EJI is working to change the narrative about race in America. Their work began by providing legal representation to people who have been illegally convicted or unfairly sentenced. The organization has since expanded its mission and is now working to help America confront its history of racial injustice.