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Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom

“Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom” tells the inspiring, true story of Lynda Blackmon Lowry, who celebrated her fifteenth birthday on the Selma to Montgomery march in 1965.  thumbnail161339
“Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom” tells the inspiring, true story of Lynda Blackmon Lowry, who celebrated her fifteenth birthday on the Selma to Montgomery march in 1965.
Jailed nine times before the march and badly beaten on Bloody Sunday, Lowery and her neighbors fought alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. to secure the right to vote for African-Americans. thumbnail161337
Jailed nine times before the march and badly beaten on Bloody Sunday, Lowery and her neighbors fought alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. to secure the right to vote for African-Americans.
As the youngest marcher in the 1965 voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Albama, Lynda Blackmon Lowery proved that young adults can be heroes. thumbnail161338
As the youngest marcher in the 1965 voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Albama, Lynda Blackmon Lowery proved that young adults can be heroes.
Actress Ally Sheedy, who adapted Lynda Lowery’s book into the theater production, answered questions from inspired Walt Whitman students.  thumbnail161340
Actress Ally Sheedy, who adapted Lynda Lowery’s book into the theater production, answered questions from inspired Walt Whitman students.

Walt Whitman High School was fortunate to host a performance of the inspiring new musical, Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom. Filled with traditional and original Gospel and Freedom songs, this show tells the true story of Lynda Blackmon Lowey. The plot is based on Lowey’s book, Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March. Lowey was the youngest person to walk all the way from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama during the Voting Rights March in 1965. This inspiring true story illustrates the strength and courage of the individuals who fought alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to secure the right for African Americans to vote.

The students of Walt Whitman High School were captivated by the performance. As we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day and have Black History Month approaching, the show came to Whitman just in time. As one student said, “Since I am 17 and in two weeks will be turning 18, it really made me think about registering to vote and the importance behind it.” This play demonstrates the impact young people can have and how powerful their voices are. Another student commented, “It's great to hear about what young people did in the past to help get us where we are today...in history class, you only learn about the adults who did great and important things.” The students were enthralled during the performance, gaining new insights and even participating during the Gospel music. They were clapping and singing along to the wonderful, moving songs.

At the end of the performance, the cast stayed to answer questions. Ally Sheedy, known for her roles in The Breakfast Club, High Art, and Psych, adapted the play and was there to meet the students, as well as Director Fracaswell Hyman and Producers Miranda Barry and Amy Sprecher. Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom was truly an uplifting and eye-opening performance that the students of Walt Whitman will remember for a long time.