Teaching Racial Tolerance to NYPD Recruits with “Anne & Emmett”

November 09, 2015 at 6:25 pm

It’s been screened for Joe Biden, Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell. But more recently, a one-act play called “Anne & Emmett” was performed for more than 1,000 New York City Police Department recruits at the city’s police academy in Queens.

“Anne & Emmett” imagines a conversation between Anne Frank and Emmett Till, two teenagers who were murdered because of institutionalized racism – in Nazi Germany, and the Jim Crow south, respectively.

When Police Commissioner William Bratton saw “Anne & Emmett” last year, he saw the play as a new way to introduce his recruits to the realities of racism and religious persecution.

Can a theater production about two teenagers from different eras teach today’s NYPD recruits about race? We discuss that question and more with journalist, author and playwright, Janet Langhart Cohen, and former U.S. Secretary of Defense and producer of “Anne & Emmett,” William S. Cohen.

Web Extra: We visit the NYPD Academy in College Point, Queens after the performance to hear reactions from the recruits themselves. Watch below.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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