The Center for Puppetry Arts is proud to partner with the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum to highlight the history of the Green Book and the resilience of African Americans during the Jim Crow era. The partnership will highlight this history through arts, historical interpretation, conversations and events around the stage adaptation of Calvin Alexander Ramsey’s Ruth & the Green Book at the Center for Puppetry Arts, Jan. 31-Feb. 25, 2024 and The Negro Motorist Green Book Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum, March 30-June 23, 2024. The Negro Motorist Green Book exhibition was created by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in collaboration with Candacy Taylor and made possible through the generous support of Exxon Mobil Corporation.
“The Carter Library is thrilled to be partnering with the Center for Puppetry Arts to bring the story of the Green Book to Atlanta through diverse platforms, including theater, exhibition, an adult lecture and student programs.” - Dr. Meredith R. Evans, director, Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum Adapted by Jon Ludwig from Calvin Alexander Ramsey’s children’s book, Ruth and the Green Book narrates the experiences of a fictional Black family in the 1950s embarking on a journey from Chicago to Alabama, contending with the prevailing Jim Crow laws of the era. In a pivotal moment, a helpful gas station attendant introduces Ruth and her family to the Green Book — a guidebook and map that marks establishments that welcome Black travelers along their route. Employing this guidebook to navigate, Ruth and her family traverse a carefully charted course to reach her grandmother’s home in Alabama safely.
“Partnering with the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum is an exciting way to expand the history behind the story of Ruth & the Green Book that will be on our stage in February, and link cultural and educational experiences across our city. We hope families and students will connect to the story of Ruth and her family, and then continue to examine this time in our nation’s history with programming around The Negro Motorist Green Book Smithsonian traveling exhibition.” - Beth Schiavo, Executive Director, Center for Puppetry Arts
The partnership will include a special evening performance of Ruth and the Green Book and a panel discussion for the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum’s constituents and invited educators. The panel discussion, moderated by Dr. Meredith Evans, will feature academics and educators teaching challenging histories through arts and culture. With the opening of the Smithsonian's The Negro Motorist Green Book exhibition at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum in March, the Center's creative team will engage students during a presentation and puppetry demonstration, highlighting the making of Ruth and the Green Book and encouraging them to explore the power of storytelling and creative practices in teaching history.
The two organizations are also partnering for a Family Day event which will be open to the public.
The Center’s performers and puppeteers will join Calvin Alexander Ramsey at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum on April 13 for the Family Day event which will be held in association with the Smithsonian traveling exhibition.
Additionally, the Center will have a pop-up exhibition at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum starting in January and lasting through the duration of the Smithsonian traveling exhibition. This pop-up exhibition will share the history of Ruth and the Green Book’s production, its adaptation from book to puppet theater, and its first staging at the Center in 2013 which was celebrated by the late Rep.
John Lewis. To learn more about The Negro Motorist Green Book Smithsonian traveling exhibition at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum, visit: jimmycarterlibrary.gov/
Performances of Ruth and the Green Book are Jan. 31-Feb. 25. It is directed by Jon Ludwig with original music by S. Renee Clark and original choreography by Ricardo Aponte. Performers include Greg Hunter, Tara Lake, Christopher McKnight, and Judah Norman. The production’s dance coach is Lyrric Cosby Jackson, Lecturer in the Department of Dance Performance and Choreography at Spelman College, AUC Data Science Initiative Faculty Affiliate and Founder/Artistic Director of Lyrric Jackson Dance. All-inclusive performance tickets include admission into the Worlds of Puppetry Museum, the Puppetry NOW Special Exhibition, Create-A-Puppet Workshop™ and free onsite parking. For more information, visit: puppet.org/programs/ruth-and-the-green-book/