The Meeting by Jeff Stetson

General Education Capstone Course

Event Details and Guideline Form:  

Attend the American Theatre Festival's performance of Jeff Stetson's "The Meeting."

Multicultural/Valuing Competencies:

  • Students should be able to identify, analyze and articulate their own values as well as those of others and recognize how these values affect opinions, decisions and behaviors.
  • Consider multiple perspectives inherent in other cultures, recognize distinctive viewpoints and biases, deal with ambiguity and articulate an informed position.

Guidelines:

1) Before attending the performance, visit one or both of the following sites concerning The American Theatre Festival. There, you will find the performance dates, the location of the performance and information about the play.

2) Before attending the performance, read the following information about the historical context of the play:

By the mid-1960s the nation was in the throes of a violent struggle to end the brutal reality of segregation in the South and other parts of the nation. Below are a few of the historical highlights that led up to the world of our play, "The Meeting."

  • 1948: President Truman, by Executive order desegregated the United States Armed Forces.
  • 1954: The United States Supreme Court ruled that segregated schools are​ illegal in Brown vs. the Board of Education, Topeka, Kansas.
  • 1954: Teenage Emmett Till murdered in Mississippi
  • 1955: Rosa Parks arrested in Montgomery, Alabama for refusing to move to the back of the bus.
  • 1957: Little Rock Central High School is forced to integrate through a federal court order and United States troops.
  • Late 1950s-early 1960s: Dr. King leads non-violent civil protests for equality in the southern states.
    • ​Education
    • ​Public Accommodations
    • ​Voting rights
  • 1963: President Kennedy sends a historic Civil Rights bill to the Congress. Congress refuses to move on his request.
  • 1963: President Kennedy assassinated
  • 1964: President Johnson pushes Kennedy’s Civil Rights Bill through Congress.
  • 1964: Civil Rights workers murdered in south.
  • 1965: President Johnson pushes a Voting Rights Bill through Congress.

The Meeting:
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X met only once and then it was briefly at a public gathering. Yet, they represented the two most powerful personalities in the Civil Rights struggles of the sixties. The Meeting, written by Jeff Stetson, imagines a meeting in a Harlem, New York hotel. There, the two men face off against each other’s dramatic differences in how minorities in the nation should push for equality.

3) Attend the performance. 
The performance is free for SCC students.
Running time: approximately 1 hour 

4) Write a 2-page, double-spaced response to the play. Please do the following in your response:

A. Briefly summarize the plot, characters and setting of the play, in one paragraph.

B. Pick 2-3 of the following questions, and spend the rest of your paper answering them. Use and cite an outside source, if it will help you with your response.

1. How did each man view their lives and values?

2. Differentiate the political philosophies of each man as they pushed the nation to change its attitudes and laws.

3. Did both men accept whatever fate awaited them?

4. After viewing the play, do you feel there could have been any common ground between the philosophies of Dr. King and Malcolm X?

5. ​Did the play reflect the human side, the personal life, of the two?

Written by: Heather Rodgers