MILWAUKEE -- During Black History Month, we usually focus on the success, strides and achievements of African-Americans. One local playwright is focused on the dark past -- and how that past is still affecting us today.
After praying over their undertaking, actors are ready to rehearse the thought-provoking play, "Making of a Modern Day Slave." It's a play written by Monte Mabra, founder of Voice for the Fatherless Child/Center for Intervention Through Entertainment.
"I ran across the Willie Lynch letter, 'The Making of a Slave,'" Mabra said.
The play draws modern day parallels with a purported 1712 speech by Willie Lynch. He gave fellow slave owners instructions on how to divide and control slaves.
"The play shows that in the 1800s, the African-American male was taken from the home and sent to other plantations," Mabra said. "A physician would come and make sure that the slaves was healthy."
Fast forward to the 1900s and we have the medical card, food stamps and the welfare check and affordable housing.
"The social worker keeps the male out of the house or you don't get the benefits," Mabra said.
"There's room for improvement and to better yourself and learn from your past so you can grow. It's entertainment. At the same time, there's a lesson involved," said Jerome Landry, an actor in the play.
"Fast forward to the 20th century, we have food share, medicare, welfare and rent assistance and mass incarceration of the black male," Mabra said. "So again he's kept out of the home because if he doesn't pay child support he's incarcerated."
What does Mabra hope the audience will get from his play?
"The family united requires to have a male in it. Also, I want them to understand the mental and physical health issues that's behind it," Mabra said.
Mabra says there has to be a sense of dependence but dependent on the right things.
"Dependent means, 'I depend on you and you depend on me. We depend on one another.' That's a family. That's a family unit," Mabra said.
There will be two performances of "Making of a Modern Day Slave." There are set for 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 25th and Sunday February 26th at 606 W. Concordia. Tickets are $10 each. For more information, you're invited to call 414-306-2107.