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Professor to perform play at ACRI

ALBANY, Ga. -- The Albany Civil Rights Institute will hold its eighth monthly Community Night of 2011 on Aug. 25, and it will feature a performance of "Deep Wells," a play based on the life of Southwest Georgia Movement leader Samuel B. Wells.

Albany State University Professor Emeritus Curtis Leroy Williams wrote the play and will perform the role of the Rev. Wells. The performance will be at 7:30 p.m., at the ACRI, 326 Whitney Ave. Tickets ($10) for this fundraising event are available prior to the performance at the civil rights museum. A second performance will be held on Aug. 27 at 3 p.m., also at ACRI.

A Florida native, Williams is a graduate of Morehouse College, Atlanta University, and The University of Texas. He also studied in England and traveled in Europe.

Williams taught at South Carolina State College and Albany State College, from which he retired in 1993, having lectured in English, speech, and theater.

He is an actor, director as well as a playwright. In addition to "Deep Wells," his plays include "Frozen Tears," "Crispus [Attucks]," "Ghetto Vampire," "Closets," "The Day the Devil Went Out of Business," "Say Grace" and "The Auction."

Williams has written a series of civil rights plays: "Captain Sherrod and His Crew" (about SNCC leader Charles Sherrod), "From the Valley to the Mountain Top" (about Martin Luther King Jr. in Albany), "The Bottom" (about Blakely African Americans), and "Education of a Harvard Guy" (about white SNCC worker John Perdew). He has also directed and acted at Theatre Albany.

Set in 1998 in Albany, "Deep Wells" is the story of Wells facing a gathering of friends, family and interested parties. He recounts various incidents of his life, particularly those of his participation in the Civil Rights Movement.

He talks of working with King, of registering voters, of marrying and rearing children, of facing death at the hands of mobs and violent police, of serving in the military and of being a preacher, among other stories.

Both performances will be followed by a book signing of "The Great Pool Jump & Other Stories from the Civil Rights Movement in Southwest Georgia," which includes readers' versions of "Deep Wells" and "Captain Sherrod and His Crew." Professor Williams and Peter de Lissovoy, editor and co-author of "The Great Pool Jump," will be available to sign copies of the book.

The next ACRI Community Night, on Sept. 29, will feature Jane Bond Moore, an Atlanta SNCC worker in the 1960s, who will discuss "Supporting the Movement Behind the Scenes." Her brother, Julian Bond, will speak the following evening at Albany State University.