At The Roxy Performing Arts Center
1645 SW 107th Avenue
Miami, FL 33165
Day of Reckoning
a play by Melody Cooper
March 2 - March 26, 2006
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Scenery: Jesse Dreikosen
Costumes: Estela Vrancovich
Lighting: Patrick Tennant
Directed by Ricky J. Martinez
Keith Cassidy - Albert Parsons
Karina Fernandez- Lulu
Brandon Morris - Albert, Jr.
Tara Vodihn - Lucy Cooper
Melody Cooper is the 2003 recipient of the Jane Chambers Award for Playwriting for Day of Reckoning, a play that also won the Multi-Stages New Works Competition in NY. Day of Reckoning was produced in New York at the Kraine Theater in 2004, and at the Castillo Theatre in 2005. Her one-act play Reading Zimbabwe, was a winner of a University of Louisville National Playwriting Award and was produced three times in 2003. Cooper's one-act, Down Here, about 9/11 volunteers at Ground Zero, was produced by the Drilling Company at 78th Street Theater Lab in two highly successful runs in New York in 2002. Most recently she completed a full-length biographical play with music about Marian Anderson. As an actress she has received several AUDELCO Award nominations. Her TV and film work includes roles in independent films and Law & Order. She is a member of Epic Rep.
Little is known about the early life of Lucy Parsons. She had African American, Native American, and Mexican ancestry, and was born in Texas around 1853. Her parents were slaves. Around 1870, while living with another man, Lucy met Albert Parsons, who would soon become her husband. In 1872 Lucy and Albert were forced to leave Texas because of their interracial marriage. They arrived in Chicago in 1873, where Albert quickly found a job as a printer for the Chicago Times.
In the summer of 1877, one of the greatest mass strikes in US history took place in Chicago. Albert addressed crowds of workers to promote peaceful ways of negotiating. Because of his involvement in these activities, Albert was fired from his job at the Chicago Times. Lucy opened a dress shop to support the family.
By 1886, people across the country were calling for an eight hour work day, proclaiming, "whether you work by the piece or work by the day, decreasing the hours increases your pay." As a result, 350,000 workers across the nation walked off their jobs to participate in a general strike. That year a strike in Chicago became violent as police fired into a crowd of unarmed workers, many of whom were wounded and killed. Then another labor meeting was disrupted by police, and someone threw a bomb, killing one officer. Although he was not at Haymarket Square that day, Albert Parsons was one of eight men accused of the bombing.
Albert turned himself in to the police, and in October 1887, after a lengthy trial, he and the other men were sentenced to death. Eventually one man committed suicide while in prison, two were given life sentences, and one received fifteen years imprisonment in an appeal. Lucy, stricken with both anger and pride that her husband would die for his beliefs, headed a campaign for clemency. Her efforts, however, did not sway the courts. On November 11, 1887, Lucy brought her two children to see their father one last time.
Lucy Parsons was active in social and unionist causes until her death. Though she affiliated herself with many different groups throughout her lifetime, her strong politics and beliefs remained distinctly individual and uncompromising. She was a woman of action and strong words, and the legacy of her seventy years stays with and inspires us today.