GSU wraps up theater season with ‘The Meeting’

By T. Scott Boatright

It was a meeting that never happened but could have changed the world if it did.

This past week, the Grambling State University Department of Visual and Performing Arts presented “The Meeting,” a 1987 play written by Jeff Stetson, at the Floyd Sandle Theatre inside the Conrad Hutchinson Jr. Performing Arts Center.

“The Meeting” is about an imaginary meeting between Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X in 1965 in a hotel in Harlem during the height of the civil rights movement.

According to a Washington Post article published in 2018, the two men only came face to face once, while both were in Washington, D.C. to watch the U.S. Senate debates regarding the (eventual) passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. On March 26, 1964, they briefly spoke with each other as they walked through the Senate together for about a minute.

The article said King was stepping out of a news conference when Malcolm X, dressed in an elegant black overcoat and wearing his signature horn-rimmed glasses, greeted him.

“The Meeting” imagines what the pair might have discussed if they actually did sit down and talk to each other during those critical times. Differing in their philosophies, but alike in their mutual respect, the two men debate their varying approaches to the same grave social problems, both prepared to die for their beliefs but neither aware of how soon their assassins’ bullets await them.

The GSU VAPA production of “The Meeting” was directed by Kyle T. Zimmerman, an assistant professor of theatre history, along with coaching by Carsey Walker Jr. The play starred GSU Mass Communication student Kam Holland portraying Martin Luther King, Jr. while Performing Arts student Karrington Jackson starred as Malcolm X.

GSU Performing Arts student Artevius Williams also appeared, playing Malcolm X’s bodyguard.


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