In 1970s North Carolina, two bitter foes formed an unlikely alliance to improve subpar public schools.
C.P. Ellis was a leader in the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan who wanted to keep Durham schools segregated. His arch nemesis Ann Atwater was a black civil rights activist pushing for desegregation. Ellis and Atwater’s differences seemed insurmountable, but they ended up working together toward a common goal.
Their story is told in the 2007 book Best of Enemies: Race and Redemption in the New South by Osha Gray Davidson, which has been adapted for the stage in a show playing at the Provision Theater through June 6.
Morning Shift talks to the Provision’s founding artistic director Timothy Gregory and actress Felicia Field, who plays Ann Atwater, about bringing the story to audiences in Chicago.