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Race relations forum tonight

Halifax County Little Theatre will present the play “To Kill A Mockingbird” in mid-November in honor of the 50th anniversary of the publishing of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel.

Tonight at 7 p.m., Little Theatre and the local branch of the NAACP will host a forum, “Reaching Out, Coming Together,” to discuss the importance of “To Kill A Mockingbird” as a great American novel, the changes seen since its publication  and the state of race relations in Halifax County today.

The South Boston/Halifax County Branch of the NAACP announced Sunday it does not support the play, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The local NAACP released a statement stating it does not support or condone the use of the “n-word,” by anyone.

“This has been the stance of the organization since July 9, 2007. Therefore, let it be clear, that the local branch of the NAACP is not supporting, sponsoring or participating in the production of the play, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” put on by the Halifax County Little Theatre (HCLT),” said Kevin L. Chandler, branch president of the local NAACP.

“The NAACP has been working with the HCLT to present a community race relations forum, ‘Reaching Out and Coming

Together,’ surrounding the use of the ‘n-word.’ Any other activities pertaining to the play is sponsored solely by the HCLT,” Chandler said.

The HCLT invites the public to participate in the forum beginning at 7 p.m. in The Prizery’s Chastain Theatre. 

The discussion will examine race relations in the novel, how much has changed in the last 50 years, why change has been so painful in certain areas, and how citizens can be positive influences of change in this community today, organizers said. 

Admission is free, and audience members will be given the opportunity to ask questions or contribute comments following the panel discussion.

Panelists include the Rev. Whitfield Scott of Piney Grove Baptist Church, the Rev. Russell Lee of First Presbyterian Church of South Boston, the Rev. William A. Keen of Trayhnam Grove Baptist  Church, and Halifax County Little Theatre board member Melissa Elmes. 

95.3 WHLF-FM General Manager Nick Long will moderate the discussion.

“To Kill A Mockingbird” will be presented Nov. 18 through 28 at The Prizery.