*Stage and screen star Phylicia Rashad slipped into the director’s chair on Sunday to help commemorate a historic moment that helped spur the civil rights movement.
The Tony Award-winning actress directed a reading of the play “Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963” at the Kennedy Center Sunday to mark the 50th anniversary of the bombing at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. Four girls were killed in the explosion, which was set by white supremacists and helped spur passage of landmark civil rights legislation.
Rashad, best known for her portrayal as the matriarch on “The Cosby Show,” said she wanted the reading to emphasize the “sanctity of joy, human existence and the value of all life.”
The play was written by Christina Ham and starred students from Howard University and the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C.
Rashad, an alumna of Howard University, said acting and directing are both challenging and rewarding. In her role as director, Rashad said she works to keep the creative energy in line with the writer’s vision, “while leaving room for people to add to the vision in a collaborative effort.”
View a promo of the project below.