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University of Iowa News Release

Jan. 12, 2006

Darwin Turner Action Theatre Performs 'The Meeting' For Martin Luther King Week

Darwin Turner Action Theatre, a social outreach group of the University of Iowa Department of Theatre Arts that focuses on African-American dramatic literature, will perform "The Meeting" by Jeff Stetson during UI Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Human Rights Week 2006, at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Jan. 19 and 20, in Theatre B of the UI Theatre Building.

The events are free, and a reception and talk-back session in the Theatre Building cafe will follow the Thursday performance.

"The Meeting" imagines a rumored encounter between Malcolm X and Dr. King, two of the most important leaders in the American civil rights movement. Although the men shared a mutual respect, their philosophies represented two poles of remedial action -- non-violence and "by any means necessary."

In the play, directed by UI Department of Theatre Arts faculty member Tisch Jones, they debate their approaches to the same grave social problems, both prepared to die for their beliefs but neither aware of how soon their assassins' bullets would cut them down. 

As a prologue, there will be a reading of UI theater graduate Anton Jones' "The Mourning After," about the two men's widows, Coretta Scott King and Betty Shabazz.

Black Action Theatre, a tradition of more than 30 years at the UI, was renamed in memory of Darwin T. Turner, a long-time University of Iowa Foundation Distinguished Professor of English and chair of the African-American World Studies Program who was a nationally recognized pioneer in African-American studies. He served on the UI faculty until his death in 1991.

Turner was only 16 when he earned his bachelor's degree, with honors, in 1947, from the University of Cincinnati, where a dormitory was named in his honor. At 18 he completed his master's degree, then went on for a doctorate at the University of Chicago. During his career in academia, he wrote 20 books and contributed to many others, and his stature is also recognized through the Darwin T. Turner Award, presented each year for the best essay in African American Review, as well as the Darwin T. Turner Scholars Program at the University of Cincinnati.

The Darwin Turner Action Theatre is directed by graduate student Bryan Moore, a recipient of the President's Award for State Outreach and Public Engagement, announced on Aug. 29, 2005, by UI President David Skorton.

UI Martin Luther King Week of Celebration is sponsored by the African-American Council. For information about other events for the week, check UI on-line calendars or contact Billie Townsend at

The Department of Theatre Arts is a unit of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail,

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073,