Play about Lucasville prisoners cheered
Published Apr 25, 2008 9:07 PM
Family, supporters and those wanting to become informed gathered on the 15th
anniversary of the 1983 rebellion in the prison in Lucasville, Ohio, to put on
two performances of a play about the event. A cast of 20, ranging in age from
11 to 84, presented “Lucasville: The Untold Story of a Prison
Uprising,” by Staughton Lynd, Gary Anderson and Christopher Fidram.
Graphic by Jason Robb
Included in the cast were two sisters and two nephews, aged 11 and 14, of Greg
Curry, one of the prisoners wrongfully convicted following the siege. Also in
the cast was Kevin Lowery, cousin of Keith LaMar (Bomani Shakur), who played
Shakur. LaMar is one of the five prisoners given death sentences who are known
as the Lucasville 5.
Before the play opened, Gwen Curry described the indignities her brother was
forced to go through during his trial and the racist attitudes of the jury
toward both him and the rest of his family. Greg Curry has been subjected to
continuing abuse, such as contamination of his food with bodily waste
Because of the intense legal pressure, the prison system has been forced to
reclassify Curry to a status where he can have full contact visits. Tears rose
in his sister’s eyes as she described with joy that for the first time in
15 years, his mother would be able to hug him.
Along with many other prisoners who either participated in the uprising or
refused to give false testimony in the trials that followed, the Lucasville 5
have been in solitary confinement for the past 15 years. At the gatherings on
April 11 and 12, participants paid tribute to all the prisoners with wrongful
convictions and recognized their families for their strength and determination
during this long period.
Many members of the LaMar family attended, as did the wife and stepdaughter of
Siddique Abdullah Hasan, another one of the Lucasville 5. Also attending was
the mother of Mosi O. Paki.
Paki has been held all this time without a trial. Instead he was punished with
violations related to the uprising before the prison system’s Rules
Infraction Board (RIB). Such violations are supposed to extend prison terms by
up to 90 days maximum, but Paki has been held on these charges for 15
One of the performances was held in a community center in a working-class
community on Cleveland’s west side. Desktop computers were set up all
around the back of the center so that during the intermission the audience
members could sign the electronic petition for amnesty at www.acluohio.org in
the Lucasville Justice Project.
A second performance was in a community center in a part of Cleveland’s
east side that is primarily African-American. The building had been completely
renovated by involving the young people of the community and teaching them
construction and maintenance skills.
The cast’s passionate performance was matched by the audience’s
enthusiasm on both nights, which included a standing ovation the second night.
This enthusiasm showed that the campaign for the freedom of the Lucasville
uprising prisoners has become a popular movement.
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