Gong Lum's Legacy by Charles White, Directed by Elizabeth Van Dyke

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March 24 – April 24, 2022: Theatre at St. Clements

World Premiere Presentation by New Federal Theatre in Association with The Peccadillo Theater Company

Gong Lum’s Legacy takes place in the Mississippi Delta against the backdrop of the Jim Crow South in 1924. We witness the unexpected romance between Joe Ting, a Chinese immigrant, and Lucy Sims, a Black school teacher.

Joe’s shop-keeper father, Charlie, is adamantly opposed to their relationship.  Charlie’s friend, Gong Lum, sues the local school board to permit his daughters to attend a white school. Gong Lum v Rice, an actual civil rights case, eventually reaches the Supreme Court. Charlie is confident that Lum will prevail and that Chinese people will soon have the same rights as Whites. 

Charlie does not want those rights jeopardized by his son, Joe, being romantically involved with a Black woman. He does everything in his power to separate Joe and Lucy.

About the Playwright

Charles White is a founding member of Harlem Playwrights 21, a not-for-profit playwriting workshop. His play, Succession, was a finalist in the 2018 ScreenCraft Play Competition. Another play, Unentitled, reached the semifinals of the same contest the following year.

The DePriest Incident was a semifinalist in the 2019 Blue Ink Playwriting Award Competition and the winner of the 2021 Diverse Voices Playwriting Initiative at Illinois State University.

Charles developed his plays in New Federal Theatre’s Playwriting Workshop under the tutelage of playwrights Michael D. Dinwiddie, P.J. Gibson, Laurence Holder, Kermit Frazier, Cassandra Medley and Richard Wesley. He is a graduate of Princeton University, where he participated in the Creative Writing Program under the late author, Wilfrid Sheed, and NYU Law School.



Dan Wackerman
Associate Director
Chris Cumberbatch
Victor En Yu Tan
Ali Turns
David Wright
Marlon Campbell
Stage Manager
Chrystal Campbell
Asst.Stage Manager
Emily Owens
Press Agent
Lawrence Evans Casting