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Segregated housing featured in prof’s play; reading today

January 22, 2013

If you thought you spotted a familiar face on the cover of Sunday’s (Jan. 20) Janesville Gazette, you’re right. Writer Anna Marie Lux talked to Associate Professor Amy Sarno about “Do You See What I’m Saying?,” a play Sarno is writing about the Fairbanks Flats.

(Read more about the project here.) The Flats are a formerly segregated housing complex constructed in 1917 for Fairbanks Morse Engine’s African-American workers. The play was based out of the work Sarno, Beloit College students, and others did collecting oral histories from former residents of the Flats.

“The title is something that a lot of people say to us when explaining their experiences,” Sarno told Lux. “There’s a history there that we don’t see in mainstream white history. Often, we were discovering a whole different part of American culture when doing these interviews. Sometimes, it wasn’t always clear to the interviewer. Then, the interviewee would say, ‘Do you see what I’m saying?’”

Sarno will read the first act of the play Tuesday from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. in the Wright Museum of Art, as part of the college’s Martin Luther King, Jr. series of events. The reading is free and open to the public.