Actress delivers theatrical message of literacy
March 19, 2010
A very special guest stopped by to help Baumholder celebrate Black History Month Feb. 26.
Melissa Waddy-Thibodeaux, president and CEO of her own non-profit organization, Flying Geese Productions, which specializes in educational entertainment, performed a riveting and true account of the life and times of Harriet Tubman. Her company, founded in 1997, currently performs various characters in history and develops literacy programs at schools, colleges, military bases, churches or where ever needed.
Before the audience at the Wagon Wheel Theater, Waddy-Thibodeaux transformed herself from a 20th century CEO into the legendary Harriet Tubman and relayed the story of the Underground Railroad, while delivering a message on the importance of literacy. She told the audience the Underground Railroad was "Just people, people helping other people. And don't let nobody tell you no never mind that the Underground Railroad was all colored folks. No, there were Dutch, Portuguese, French, Chinese, Indian, white folks, colored, all of them working together," Waddy-Thibodeaux told the audience through her Harriet Tubman character.
A powerful recital of Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech was also presented by 2nd Lt. Zayana Dennis and there was a musical performance by Pfc. Tamika Torain.
The Baumholder American Middle and High School allowed several students to attend the performance, which was held during school hours. After the performance, Lt. Col. Paul Pfahler, U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder commander, told the students, "This is a better observance today because you're here, and I'd love to see the whole place next time filled with as many of you as we can get out of class, because this right here was education. And, if you didn't learn something today then I'll be surprised.
"Our observance was simple, it was informative, it was effective and it was necessary. It was necessary because America has made huge strides since this time (the era portrayed by Waddy-Thibodeaux in her performance) but we still have a way to go.
"By you being here and by this ceremony taking place, a very small ceremony, it helped make Baumholder a better place to live. It helped make all of us better individuals, and I challenge you each day to remember what you saw here and take that with you for the rest of your days, to not only help make your life better, your community better, but our nation. We're based in diversity. This is what makes us strong and you're all a part of that," said Pfahler.