“Awele Makeba’s work inspires new questions about how to teach and learn history. Her presentation cannot help but provoke an emotional response that engages all facets of our common humanity and makes us question how much we really understand the past. This is her success: she unsettles our understanding of what we thought we knew so that we can come to know in new ways.”
Sam Wineburg, Professor, Cognitive Studies in Education, Stanford University and author, Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts: Charting the Future of Teaching the Past, Temple University Press c2001
"Awele creates bridges that reconnect audiences to their national soul. She entertains and ignites in the way of a young Maya Angelou; she reveals the connection of crisis and renewal as does Ntozake Shange; she uncovers the personal within the historic like Anna Deavere Smith. But Awele is like no other in her ability to awaken her audiences in three areas - race, history and art. Laughing and clapping or stunned into silence, we are aware of barriers and fears, preconceptions and inhibitions, magically falling away. We leave her feeling fired up, newly equipped, emboldened and sensitized at once.”
Pat Holt, Former Book Review Editor, San Francisco Chronicle and Editor, Holtuncensored.com
"Awele Makeba's stirring performance of I'm Not Getting Up Until Jim Crow Gets Off is theatre at its best. The play weaves together the voices of four women, Claudette Colvin, Mary Louise Smith, JoAnn Robinson, and Rosa Parks and documents their acts in defying the Jim Crow laws during the Montgomery (Alabama) Bus Boycotts in 1955. Their roles as "upstanders" are important lessons - ones that continue to challenge us today- about participation as a responsible citizen in a democracy and about lessons of courage and faith. In bringing this untaught history to the stage and, indeed, to life, Makeba also reminds us that empathy and the capacity to understand and to own history helps us realize the best in ourselves."
Margot S. Strom, Executive Director, Facing History and Ourselves
"Rage! is a dynamic, innovative and interactive performance that unveils critical ideals, issues, events and people -- youth and women, central to the historical "truth" of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a watershed moment in The Movement and American history that should be experienced by all!"
Bob Moses, Founder, The Algebra Project and co-author, Radical Equations: Civil Rights from Mississippi to the Algebra Project, Beacon Press c2001
"Awele Makeba's extensive oral history interviews with Claudette Colvin and her research on other women and teen participants of the Montgomery Bus Boycott represent an important addition to the scholarly research on the modern Civil Rights struggle. Just as importantly, her riveting performance based on those sources brings to life important dimensions of the Boycott in a way that is at once accessible, entertaining, and thought provoking for a variety of audiences, from student to specialist. The students, faculty, administrators, and community people attending her performance at Western Michigan University were both intellectually engaged and deeply moved by the experience. Awele is the real deal."
Mitch Kachun, Western Michigan University and author, Festivals of Freedom: Memory and Meaning in African American Emancipation Celebrations, 1808-1915 Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press c 2003
Makeba's performance in Rage Is Not A 1-Day Thing! is a tour-de-force. Her
meticulously researched script tells the compelling story of black citizens
acting as their own agents of change by challenging the Jim Crow caste system
of segregation during the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955-56. Most exciting
for me is the way that Awele brings history to life. The voices of
Claudette Colvin and Mary Louise Smith, two teenagers, and community leaders
Rosa Parks and JoAnn Robinson illuminate an on-going tradition of resistance
and courage. Makeba's art and scholarship create a powerful teaching tool
that should be experienced both in the academy and in the world."
William H. Chafe, Dean
of Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education,
Professor of History, Duke University and Co-editor, Remembering Jim Crow, The
New Press c 2001
performance of at Stanford brought the Montgomery bus boycott to life for
my students. Her script combines accurate historical documentation with vivid
characterizations. Best of all, she is a wonderful actor. Her guest lecture in my American Freedom Movement class was scholarly, brilliant, stimulating and deeply moving.”
Clayborne Carson, Professor
of History and Director of the King Papers Project, Stanford University and
Senior Editor, The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. Volumes I-IV
"I'm Not Getting Up Until Jim Crow Gets Off is more than a depiction of the events surrounding one of the most important struggles in our nation's history -- the Civil Rights Movement. It is the visual demonstration of how individual and social behaviors can be transformed into major historical events in any society. In this context Awele Makeba's powerful one-woman performance can be applied by educators in their attempts to explain all of the great movements in history for social change and the advancement of the human and political rights."
Andrew Stamp, Associate Executive Director, Virginia Association of School
"Rage!" is living proof that young people have enormous power to influence the course of human events if they could just acknowledge that they have it in them. In a world that tends to reduce adolescents to consumer markets, "Rage!" is a wake up call for youth to assert the impact of doing as a way of making positive contributions to the progress of human mankind. In a world that views the female gender as objects of desire, and otherwise invisible, stripped of any meaningful power, "Rage!" demonstrates that because courageous young women -- girls really -- have made a difference once, so too can today's blooming flowers. Awele Makeba's performance is a gift for all those needing encouragement to do something of significance with their lives. The story told is leadership by common folk, and with them, mountain ranges ca be moved."
Benny Sato Ambush, Distinguished Producing Director-in-Residence, Emerson College
"Awele Makwba is an actress/storyteller who will restore your faith in the power of theatre for young audiences. And even if your faith doesn't need restoring she will inspire you and help you to remember how powerful theatre, for young or old can truly be. Awele is the most stirring performer that I have seen in years, and her one-woman show, I'm Not Getting On Until Jim Crow Gets Off is a captivating, fascinating, work of art."
Karen Libman, Editor, STAGE of the Art, Volume 14, Number 2
“First, I must say that you
are a great actress. Your portrayal of the various characters was
fantastic. Your play and performance touched me. My emotions were stirred
up. I experienced sadness, anger and rage. Your play provoked many
questions and reflections on the struggles, resistance and resiliency of blacks
throughout history not only the suffering and triumphs of our past but the
current injustices that must be challenged and changed. I also
experienced joy and pride during your performance. I was proud that the
black people of Montgomery, Alabama found the courage to come together and
stand up at last -- with success they held the 381 days bus boycott. I
was also proud that these ordinary people, women, men and children challenged
the unjust laws and fought for their full citizenship and their humanity.
Thank you for bringing this rich history and fantastic performance to
Venetiaan–Vanenburg, First Lady of the Republic of Suriname, South America