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Red Summer comes to the Bijou Theatre as part of Carpbetbag Theatre’s 50th Anniversary Celebration

WWI ended in 1919. Black men who served felt they deserved the full rights of citizenship and higher social status in return for their patriotic service. Meanwhile, lynch mobs murdered 78 African-Americans, ten of whom were veterans. East Tennessee was a place where a trade group proclaimed: “There are no Ku Klux Klan outrages here. We are a distinct and peculiar people.

red summer by carpetbag theatre

Red Summer, directed by Leilani Chan, is a drama based on events that occurred right here in Knoxville, TN during the racially charged Summer of 1919. It tells the story of a model African American community unable to escape the horrors of mob violence. “In the early hours of Saturday morning, August 30, 1919, a young white woman, Bertie Lindsay, was shot and killed in the bedroom of her home. Before dawn, a black man had been arrested and charged with the crime.

Join the longest running Black Theater in the U.S. as they tell this incredibly important story on Thursday, September 12th; Sunday, September 15th at 7:30pm. Cost: $25

To purchase tickets, please visit

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The Carpetbag Theatre, Inc. was founded in 1969 and chartered in 1970. It is a Knoxville-based professional, multi-generational ensemble company dedicated to the production of new works. They work in partnership with community artists, activists, cultural workers, storytellers, and leaders to create original, theatrical works. Its mission is to give artistic voice to the issues and dreams of people who have been silenced by racism, classism, sexism, ageism, homophobia and other forms of oppression.

Published August 21, 2019

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