ward-winning actor Mike Wiley performs his one-man show in Metro Detroit for the first time this month with Dar He, the story of slain black teenager Emmett Till whose tragedy was a turning point in the civil rights era.
The meaning behind the title of Wiley’s show stems from a comment from Emmett’s uncle Mose Wright, who identified the murderers of his nephew in court by pointing to them and saying, “Dar he.”
14-year-old Emmett was visiting relatives in Mississippi from Chicago when he was accused of whistling at a white woman inside a store. He was kidnapped, tortured and murdered by the woman’s husband and brother; photos of his battered body from his open-casket funeral galvanized black Americans at the time.
Wiley, 44, grew up in southwest Virginia and received a master of fine arts from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He will be playing 26 roles in the production.
“Many students know few names when it comes to African-American history,” Wiley tells BLAC. “Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman. That’s it, and it’s a sad tune, so I wanted to change that.”
Dar He runs March 14-16 at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts in Clinton Township. For show times, visit macombcenter.com or call 586-286-2222.