The Athens-Clarke County Library presents three opportunities this month for you to learn about the first African American graduate of West Point, Lt. Henry O. Flipper with the one-act play by author Bob Rogers, Lt. Flipper’s Trial.
The play will be performed by Rogers at East Athens Resource Center, Lay Park Resource Center, and Athens-Clarke County Library.
Born in Thomasville, Ga., Flipper was a former slave who graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., in 1877. Flipper earned a commission as a 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Army and was the first nonwhite officer to lead the Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th Calvary Regiment. In 1880, Flipper distinguished himself in the War against Warm Spring Apache Chief Victorio. A year later, 25-year-old Flipper was tried for embezzlement of government funds. He was dismissed from the Army on June 30, 1882. Following his time in the army, Flipper was a civil engineer in El Paso, Texas, eventually retiring to Atlanta where he died in 1940. Flipper was pardoned by President Bill Clinton in 1999.
This play dramatizes the 1881 court martial and draws the audience into the controversy about whether Lt. Flipper was treated fairly before, during and after the trial.
The play will be performed by its author, Bob Rogers, a former U.S. Army Captain and combat leader during the Vietnam War in Troop A, 1/10th Cavalry. An audience discussion will follow each performance of the play, including discussion of Rogers’ book, First Dark, a Buffalo Soldier’s Story.
The play will be performed three times in Athens. Each performance is free and open to the public:
Thursday, Feb. 22, at 3:30 p.m. at East Athens Resource Center, 400 McKinley Drive, Athens.
Thursday, Feb. 22, at 7:00 p.m. at Athens-Clarke County Library, 2025 Baxter Street, Athens.
Friday, Feb. 23, at 3:30 p.m. at Lay Park Resource Center, 297 Hoyt Street, Athens.