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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

African-American history in Texas brought to life

Photos by Brooke Baldwin/The Collegian. Hiram Wilson’s life is put on display for the South Campus production of “The First Black Businessman in Texas: Hiram Wilson,” which will be on Feb. 13 and 14.
Photos by Brooke Baldwin/The Collegian. Hiram Wilson’s life is put on display for the South Campus production of “The First Black Businessman in Texas: Hiram Wilson,” which will be on Feb. 13 and 14.
January 29, 2020 | Elyssa Gideon | reporter
Photos by Brooke Baldwin/The Collegian. Hiram Wilson’s life is put on display for the South Campus production of “The First Black Businessman in Texas: Hiram Wilson,” which will be on Feb. 13 and 14.
Photos by Brooke Baldwin/The Collegian. Hiram Wilson’s life is put on display for the South Campus production of “The First Black Businessman in Texas: Hiram Wilson,” which will be on Feb. 13 and 14.

An opening exhibit reception will be held on Feb. 13 at 5:30-7:30 p.m. to be followed by the theater performance of The First Black Businessman in Texas: Hiram Wilson, a play written for the exhibit. 

For two nights, the audience will experience a “dramatization of what she thinks one of the most important days in Hiram Wilson’s life could have been like,” South Campus theater director Lindy Benton-Muller said.

“I was asked last spring by my dear South Campus colleague, assistant art professor Earline Green, if I would consider writing a play about Hiram Wilson, the first black businessman in Texas,” Benton-Muller said. “I said, ‘Sure!’” 

After working on the play for seven months, Benton-Muller wanted to wait to fill the roles and then write the characters to fit the students.

“I love the idea of individuals who take their adversities and turn them into blessings for their families and themselves,” said South student Corey Cammon, who plays the main character, Hiram Wilson.

Julia Shedegin (left) and Ashlynn Green (right) read script for rehearsal.
Julia Shedegin (left) and Ashlynn Green (right) read script for rehearsal.

The play is set in June of 1884 in Capote, Texas. Transporting the audience back in time is the goal of both the actors in the play and  the production team, said Thomas Tuttle, South Campus technical theatre director.

The production team will “make sure everything is accurate and conveys the author’s meaning to its fullest extent and create a world for the sake of the audience,” Tuttle said. 

Readers should check out the play to experience a still important part of Texas history.

“I would tell people that learning about certain points of our history has a way of enhancing our future, and we should all wish for a better way of living,”  Cammon said. 

The First Black Businessman of Texas: Hiram Wilson will be performed Feb. 13 and 14 at 7:30 p.m. in the Joe B. Rushing Center for the Performing Arts on South Campus. Admission is free for all TCC students, faculty and staff. Other students and senior citizens are $3; general public is $6.

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