What is Project Unspeakable?
Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the death of John F. Kennedy and inspired by James Douglass’ remarkable book, JFK and the Unspeakable (Simon & Schuster, 2010), playwright Court Dorsey and associate writers Stephen Wangh and Debbie Lynangale created the play Project Unspeakable based on historical quotes related to the assassinations of these four pivotal leaders. Since November 2013, over thirty groups around the United States have read or performed the script and engaged in stimulating and vibrant discussion of the ideas presented. See more on the script and past readings.
Thomas Merton, an internationally respected spiritual writer and Trappist monk, wrote in 1965:
“One of the awful facts of our age is the evidence that [the world] is stricken indeed, stricken to the very core of its being by the presence of the Unspeakable…[that] too few are willing to see.”
The Project hopes not only to bring back into focus the inspiring legacies of these four men, but also to shed light on the role of today’s ever-more-powerful ‘National Security State’ as it relates to various lies and cover-ups that too few people are willing to challenge. Ultimately, the goal of Project Unspeakable is to motivate people to demand and work for governmental and corporate openness, transparency, and democratic accountability, which we believe is a prerequisite for effectively addressing the multiple social, political, and environmental crises we currently face.Read more about us...
“Remembering Malcolm X: A Multimedia Reading of Project Unspeakable”
at the 2015 NCBS Conference in Los Angeles
On Saturday, March 14th, during the National Council for Black Studies’ 2015 Annual Conference in Los Angeles, a Special Session will feature a reading of Project Unspeakable. We encourage members of Black Studies departments and students of Black History everywhere to follow their lead and organize local readings and performances. Please contact us for script details.
From the Session Abstract, prepared by scholar and author Dr. Amilcar Shabazz, a professor in the W. E. B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, NCBS V.P., and Project Unspeakable endorser:
It is 50 years after the death of Malcolm X. This session provides a context for reflecting on what makes his life so relevant to us still today. To inspire our reflection we will use the Research-to-Performance Method (developed at Brown University's Rites & Reason Theatre) and W.E.B. Du Bois' seminal ideas about theater for social change as a foundation for exploration of "engaged community storytelling" about Brother Malcolm.
This reading of Court Dorsey's Project Unspeakable will use a version of verbatim theater to recreate every word with the voices, bodies and energies of an ensemble, without omitting any of the writing or changing it to suit their interpretation. We have asked for volunteers from NCBS members, students and faculty for this demonstration production, to show how this can be done on your campus. We will cut-n-mix portions of the play with real media clips from the 1960s.
We're excited and honored to be a part of this year's NCBS conference, and look forward to working with these leading educators to bring Project Unspeakable to campuses and communities around the country.
Listen to our Supporters
Below are videos of more Project Unspeakable endorsers: Eve Ensler, playwright of The Vagina Monologues; Daniel Ellsberg, who in 1971 released the Pentagon Papers; former Rep. Cynthia McKinney; Grammy-nominated vocalist of Sweet Honey in the Rock Evelyn Harris; and Abdullah Abdur-Razzaq, a longtime associate and friend of Malcolm X.
What Can I Do?
You can be part of the Project Unspeakable movement, and there are lots of ways to be involved: