House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, gave opening remarks at an historic event on Capitol Hill in Washington, October 21st: "The People of Clarendon County"â€”A Play by Ossie Davis, & the Answer to Racism! Staged in the Congressional Auditorium of the US Capitol Visitor Center, the event was based on the book edited by journalist and Aesthetic Realism Associate Alice Bernstein. Mr. Clyburn, who is also Congressman of South Carolinaâ€™s 6th District, recalled the sacrifices made for equality in education by heroic people in Clarendon County, SC whose lawsuit led to the landmark Supreme Court ruling, Brown v. Board of Education. He thanked Alice Bernstein "for making sure those sacrifices will be in a form that generations will forever understand, recognize, and hopefully pay homage to."
The large, diverse audience saw a stirring performance of Ossie Davisâ€™s 1955 Civil Rights play, and heard the cause and answer to racism, explained by Aesthetic Realism, the education founded by the great philosopher Eli Siegel. Joining Mrs. Bernstein to tell this important story were Dr. Jaime R. Torres, founder of Latinos for National Health Insurance, and Shenandoah Titus, Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Civil Rights and Liberties of the Department of Homeland Security.
Featured guests were Congressmen John Conyers (MI), Elijah Cummings (MD), and Jose E. Serrano (NY). Other supporters included the Congressional Black Caucus chaired by Barbara Jackson Lee (CA). This event was hosted by the not-for-profit Alliance of Ethics & Art, and was accompanied by a stand-out chorus from Bishopville, South Carolina with singers from Lee Central High School and the Thelma Slater Chorus, directed by Thomas "Terry" Slater. Educator Monique Michael presented a first grade science lesson based on the Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method. The audience was thrilled as Mrs. Michael illustrated why this method has succeeded for over 35 years in enabling children, including in the most hard-hit economic circumstances, to learn eagerly the subjects of the curriculum and to become kinder.
A celebration of this groundbreaking event was held the following day by Mrs. Bernstein, Dr. Torres, and the chorus on the steps of the Abraham Lincoln Memorial.