On Thursday, January 11, acclaimed actor Frederick Morsell returned to Columbia Middle School in Berkeley Heights to perform his one-man show, “Presenting “Frederick Douglass: the Early Years.” Mr. Morsell has been visiting the school annually since 1988 to present his show to the eight-graders.

He gave a powerful performance as Douglass as an adult, looking back on his childhood, to demonstrate the profound negative impact of slavery as an institution on the identity, self-worth and families of African-Americans for generations. Mr. Morsell utilized all his story-telling powers and bravura to captivate the audience of students and teachers alike, and gave a moving rendition of Douglass’s central memories of growing up as a slave in Maryland.

He took the audience on a journey from Douglass’s childhood through his early adulthood, from captivity in Maryland to freedom in New York State, and helped the audience see through Douglass’s eyes the experiences of injustice and racism. This assembly reinforces ideas central to the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and the upcoming counseling department events during “No Name Calling Week” at the school from January 15-22.

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Mr. Morsell has performed at Lincoln Center and on Broadway, and in a variety of television shows such as General Hospital and LA Law. For more information on Mr. Morsell, please see: http://www.frederickdouglass.org/morsell_bio.html

The assembly was sponsored by the Cultural Arts Committee of the Columbia Middle School Parent Teacher Organization.