HOUGHTON — This weekend, Keweenaw residents will be revisiting a time when the country was divided by racial tension, that reached boiling points on a national level. Michigan Tech’s theater company is presenting its rendition of “Fires in the Mirror,” a play by Anna Deavere Smith.
“I think the unique thing with the Crown Heights situation was that it’s two marginalized groups, Jews and Blacks, targeting one another and how it can turn really bad, really quickly,” said actress Darnishia Slade.
The presentation chronicles the viewpoints of black and Jewish men and women affected by the Crown Heights riots of 1991. Crown Heights is a New York neighborhood that turned to violence and rioting over a four-day period after a vehicle in a Jewish rabbi’s procession reportedly ran a red light and struck and killed a seven year-old black boy while riding his bike.
Almost instantly, a Jewish by standard was stabbed by a young member of the black community, resulting in the loss of life from both sides and provoking tensions to a point beyond control.
Actress Marie Miller plays Letty Cottin Pogrebin, a member of the Jewish community.
“Who was one of the founding editors of Ms. Magazine. And she’s Jewish, so she has a little bit to say about the whole Jew verses Black relationship. It’s a really unique show. The way it’s presented is nothing like I’ve ever seen before,” said Miller.
After over twenty years of hardship, kin from both mourning families had set aside their differences and united as friends, creating a bridge of unity between the races. Today in Crown Heights, both the black and Jewish communities interact amicably using the event as an opportunity to unite.
“Fires in the Mirror” will be showing at the McArdle Theater. Curtain call is 7:30 p.m. and doors open one hour before showtime. Tickets are available HERE.