Black Lady Theater

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The owners of The Black Lady Theatre are Omar Hardy (34) and his father Clarence (83); they own and run that Theatre and another one over on Fulton Street called the Slave Theatre, that was torn down illegally.  They intend to rebuild it.  Their ownership of these theaters is partly a business and cultural venture, but also an attempt to reverse an astounding piece of injustice.  Back in the 1990's the two theaters were a project managed by Judge John L. Phillips, a prominent lawyer, entrepreneur, and politician.  He had a vision that Black people needed to be aware of their history, which he divided roughly into three eras.  The first was when they were masters of their fate in Africa and lived in kingdoms with magnificent cultures.  The second period was defined by the advent of European imperialism, a time when massive numbers of Blacks were enslaved and brought to the New World, their languages and culture damaged and sometimes lost.  The lives of slaves were little different from those of animals.  Judge Phillips believed the new era was a contested one.  Blacks might reproduce the problems of  their enslavement or recover the dignity and nobility that had been theirs.  The two theatres were to carry out his vision.  Alas, Judge Phillips was basically kidnapped by a Brooklyn politician afraid of his vision and political power.  From 2001 to 2008 Judge Phillips was confined to various institutions for the mentally impaired.  During that time numerous guardians were appointed who looted his estate.  Clarence Hardy was a close friend, business partner and confidante of the judge and remembers what his vision was.  At 83, he is important as an elder who keeps track of the past.  The practical steps of reviving the Judge's vision fell to Omar Hardy, someone who has worked on the project since childhood.  One should look into the programs the theater runs.  Not surprisingly many are devoted to the young, who will be able to carry on this important work into the future.