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For All the World to Hear in Maryland

January 30, 2013 | By Federal/State Partnership Staff

This February, an oral history performance project, For All the World to Hear: Stories from the Struggle for Civil Rights, supported by the Maryland Humanities Council, brings ten Baltimore-area senior citizens to the stage to tell and perform personal stories of their involvement in the struggle for civil rights.

For All the World to Hear was initially conceived as a form of outreach for the exhibit For All the World to See, currently on view at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture (CADVC) through March 10, 2013. The exhibit demonstrates how the media affected the civil rights movement. For All the World to Hear adds a more personal, human dimension to the exhibit through participant's shared stories. 

Starting in September 2012, Baltimore-area senior citizens from inter-racial and inter-faith backgrounds met once a week over a period of three months to share stories of their experiences in the civil rights movement with guidance from oral historian and Hertiage Theater Artists' Consortium producer/artistic director Harriet Lynn. The project's initial goal was to share the stories of the personal sacrifices, risks, and even the humiliations endured by these Marylanders with intergenerational audiences.

The performance piece lasts approximately one hour and is scheduled for five performances in February. 

Friday, February 8, 12 pm

Baltimore's City Hall for the Baltimore National Heritage Area's It's More Than History! Brown Bag Lecture Series

Sunday, February 10, 2 pm

The Jewish Museum of Maryland

Tuesday, February 12, 6 pm

The Maryland Historical Society

Friday, February 15, 10:30 am

UMBC, Recital Hall, Fine Arts Building

Saturday, February 23, 2 pm

Enoch Pratt Free Library, Main Branch

The second part of the project involves a collaboration between the performers and CADVC's ongoing digital publishing intiative to create a digital storytelling component. Each senior involved in the project will work with a UMBC student to realize their story in digital video format. The stories will ultimately be published via UMBC's digital story site and will be distributed via iTunes-U to K-16 schools throughout Maryland and beyond. Two stories from the pilot year of the project are currently available:

Transformation by Gloria Oden

What My Uniform Means to Me by Marie Bemkey

A documentary film will chronicle the entire project, from "process to performance," covering the group's first meeting in September 2012 and ending in spring of 2013 with the web launch and screening of the senior's digital stories.

For more information about For All the World to Hear including all performances, the documentary film, and the digital storytelling project, visit the project website

For All the World to Hear: Stories from the Struggle for Civil Rights is a community outreach program of the Center for Art, Design & Visual Culture, UMBC, organized by Sandra Abbott, CADVC’s curator of collections and outreach. Program partners include the St. Francis Neighborhood Center, Stoop Storytelling Series, Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory & Botanic Gardens, Druid Hill Park, and the Senior Division of the Baltimore City Recreation & Parks Department. Media partners include Beacon Newspapers and WYPRFor all the World to Hear is inspired by the concurrent CADVC project, For All The World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights, curated by Dr. Maurice Berger, CADVC’s Research Professor and Chief Curator. Learn more at

This project was made possible by a grant from the Maryland Humanities Council.