The leadership of The 100 goes beyond mentoring and enhancing economic opportunity. We also lead in exposing our communities to the richness of black history and culture. The latest instance of this leadership occurred on Feb. 22, when, in partnership with the South Bend Civic Theatre, the 100 Black Men of Greater South Bend sponsored a performance of “Gem of the Ocean,” the first in legendary playwright August Wilson’s American Century cycle of 10 plays about African-American life in the 20th Century.
After a pre-performance reception hosted by The 100, a sold-out house enjoyed the show. The audience included many members of The 100 and several students from our group-mentoring program, the Freedman Academy. More than a few of those present noted that the audience was unusually “diverse” for an event of its type in South Bend—a tribute to the leadership of South Bend Civic’s executive director Aaron Nichols and community leaders such as Mrs. Vivian Sallie.
Dr. Alfred Guillaume, chair of the Education Committee of The 100, was the driving force behind the “Gem of the Ocean” event. He said he would recommend that The 100 repeat the effort annually for the next nine years, as the South Bend Civic mounts performances of the remainder of Wilson’s American Century Cycle.