The Elizabeth Keckley Award™ was recently presented by Black Women for Positive Change (BWFPC) to playwright Tazewell Thompson, author of the play “Mary T and Lizzie K,” at Arena Stage on Saturday, March 30th, 2013. The Keckley award was presented by Dr. Stephanie Myers, National Co-Chair of BWFPC, and representatives of the network including Karen Carrington, Ruth Marshall, Sondra Henderson, Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds, Bernadette Tolson, Marilyn Franklin, and Melody Webb, Esq.

“Tazewell Thompson is being honored for his cultural contributions towards preserving and strengthening the American middle-working class. By showcasing the unique relationship of Mary Todd Lincoln and Elizabeth Keckley, he brings to light the story of Elizabeth Keckley, a little known historic figure, who was born into enslavement yet who went on to purchase freedom for herself and her son. Against all odds, Mrs. Keckley became a business-owner, employer, and philanthropist,” said Dr. Stephanie E. Myers and Virginia State Delegate Daun S. Hester, National Co-Chairs of BWFPC, in a joint press statement. “We were particularly impressed by the performance of Sameerah Luqmaan-Harris. She gave Mrs. Keckley’s character a strong, determined voice and we appreciate that interpretation,” said Karen Carrington and Bernie Tolson, Event Co-Chairs for BWFPC. “We encourage DC theater lovers to see ‘Mary T. and Lizzie K.'”

In receiving the award, Tazewell Thompson said he had written the play “Mary T. and Lizzie K.” in memory of his mother and grandmother, both women who emphasized positive change.

Black Women for Positive Change is a national, virtual, civic network composed of activist women and “Good Brothers.” The network supports qualified political and government leadership and is working to preserve the gains of the American middle-working class. The network recently created a Non-Violence Task Force to promote non-violence and seek solutions to the proliferation of guns in American communities.

By Dr. Stephanie Myers

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