CHARLESTON, WV (NEWS RELEASE) – On Monday, January 15, The Martin Luther King, Jr. State Holiday Commission presented Pamela Barry and Neely Seams the 2018 “Living the Dream Award” in the area of “Sharing of Self—Selfless Leadership in the Public and Private Sector”. Together they wrote and performed a monologue about the life of Medal of Freedom winner and White Sulphur Springs native Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson during the 2017 Greenbrier Historical Society Homes Tour Weekend. In doing so, they rendered an invaluable service to others in the public sector through education and inspiration. They were nominated for this honor by the Board of Directors of the Greenbrier Historical Society.
The award presentation was held on Monday, January 15, 2018 at 9:30 AM at the Asbury United Methodist Church, 501 Elizabeth Street, Charleston, WV as a part of the Commemoration and Celebration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Commission noted that the original script for the monologue was written and directed by Pamela Barry with the permission of the Johnson family. Barry did extensive research before writing the script and incorporated many of Mrs. Johnson’s actual quotes in the script. Neely Seams was applauded for her vibrant portrayal of Katherine Johnson which she had the honor of presenting before Katherine Johnson herself in August, 2017.
The Commission also said, “The script and performance have made an impact on all who have viewed the presentation of the monologue. It clearly provides inspiration to minorities, women, and those considering careers in science and math. The education of the public about the constraints of Jim Crow laws, racism, and sexism exemplifies the principles of Dr. Martin Luther King.”
Barry said, “I was honored to receive the Martin Luther King, Jr. State Holiday Commission Sharing of Self Award with Neely today. From the moment I started researching and then writing this monologue about Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson for the Greenbrier Historical Society, I knew it was different than the others I had written. Mrs. Johnson is a courageous, intelligent woman filled with grace and dignity and very inspiring. I loved writing and directing this show, but for me, the best part is watching Neely become Mrs. Johnson every time she performs it. It is powerful. Today was another great moment, added to all the others.”
Seams commented, “”One of the things I loved about doing this monologue was the sense of community it created among everyone who came. I learned from it and I think everyone else did. It was great to have that recognized through the ‘Sharing of Self’ award.”
Margaret Hambrick, President of the Board of the Greenbrier Historical Society (GHS) said, “We are so proud to have this monologue, its creator, and its actor recognized for a state-wide award. We also want to acknowledge the acting of Danny Seams; the coordination of Janice Cooley; the beautiful setting in St. Thomas Episcopal Church; and the work of the volunteers who provided the lovely “tea” following the performance. It was a team effort.”
Because of its potential impact on students, the monologue will be presented to all the high school students in Greenbrier, Monroe, and Pocahontas Counties in March, 2018. Leaders in these schools were ecstatic at this opportunity. The public will also have an opportunity to see the monologue at the Lewis Theatre on March 24, 2018 at either 2 or 7 p.m. Tickets, available through GHS, are $20. Please call 304-645-3398 to purchase or visit the Greenbrier Historical Society/North House Museum.
L to R: Mrs. Patricia Wilson, Pamela Barry, Neely Seams, and Dr. William R. White as Barry and Seams are presented with their “Sharing of Self—Selfless Leadership in the Public Sector” award.