For the first time, Jeffersonville High tells the story of an African-American family

JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) -  Jeffersonville High School's theater department is performing 'The Watsons go to Birmingham' this weekend for Black History Month.

'The Watsons Go to Birmingham' tells the story of a family in the 1960's moving from Flint, Michigan to Birmingham, Alabama.

Jeffersonville High School Theatre Director Patti Miller said this is the first time the school has performed a story based on an African-American Family.

The play covers the bombing of the Sixteenth Avenue Baptist Church, when four young black girls were killed after members of the Ku Klux Klan planted sticks of dynamite below the church steps.

Martin Luther King Jr. described the 1963 bombing as as "one of the most vicious and tragic crimes ever perpetrated against humanity."

High School senior Selena Jackson-King said she's proud to play a lead role in the show. She said she's never been able to draw inspiration from her own family to develop the characters she's played.

"You have to think - this event really happened, and we have to do everything we can to make sure it never happens again," Selena Jackson-King said.

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By performing in the 'Watsons Visit Birmingham' she and her cast mates learned about themselves and African-American History in a different way.

"This is stuff that my mom has said and this is stuff that I have heard and been through so it is really nice to have that connection," Jackson-King said.

These young actors have been on stage for dozens of shows…but this experience with Jeffersonville High School Theatre is special.

"Getting to experience history up close on the stage... you learn a lot more than just reading it," leading actor Jamie Donald Young Irwin said.

Director Patti Miller is proud to share the story, and even prouder of her students for bringing it to life.

"They want to make their world different and they are using this play as a vehicle to do so," Miller said.

The show is running this weekend for Black History Month. 'The Watsons Go To Birmingham' runs Saturday at 7pm and Sunday at 2pm.

Miller said the department casts students regardless of race and their enthusiasm displays their pride in the production.

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