Charles Reese will be a featured guest artist for the upcoming Black History Month special program, “Bayard Rustin & James Baldwin: Freedom Fighters and Friends” presented by the DC Commission for the Arts & Humanities at the Arena Stage. Reese is a New York Audelco Award nominee, cultural architect for public engagement, educator, and Washington DC native. He will ignite the fiery spirit of James Baldwin in this riveting multi-media theatrical presentation. It will be an engaging, educational, and entertaining feast for the soul and the senses.

Reese grew up in the Shaw District of Washington DC on the 400 Block of “Q” Street. He attended Scott Montgomery Elementary School, Shaw Jr. High School and McKinley Technical High School. Reese says, “These three amazing public schools in DC, along with my community in the Shaw District and some really dedicated teachers like Mrs. Lillian Fulp (my speech teacher), Mr. Hoover (my band instructor) and Mr. Keny Long (my after-school teacher) provided a safe haven for me to pursue my passions which enabled me to reach beyond my comfort zone.” Reese, a graduate of Morehouse College with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and theatre arts, is known in the global theatre community for originating the role of Baldwin in the Off-Broadway production of Howard Simon’s James Baldwin A Soul on Fire. Critic David DeWitt of The New York Times called the play, “…funny, thrilling and wise, buoyed by the passionate performance of Charles Reese in the title role.”

Executive director of DCCAH, Lionell Thomas, states, “We are honored to have Mr. Reese return back to his hometown to share his passionate performance skills with our wonderfully talented local artists as we celebrate two of America’s unsung civil rights activists.” Bayard Rustin played a major role in orchestrating the March on Washington in 1963 with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and others. Rustin posthumously received the Presidential Medal of Freedom 2013 from President Barack Obama. James Baldwin’s fiery spirit still burns via his literary canon. Also, 2014 marks Baldwin’s 90th birthday anniversary.

Reese now resides in Los Angeles, Calif. and currently plays the role of Jalil Baldwin; a feisty chef for the upcoming television comedy series, “Basketball Wife” created by Emmy Award winning writer and producer, Michael Ajakwe Jr. In addition, Reese just completed his first published essay in a new book volume, “James Baldwin: Challenging Authors” for Furman University/Sense Publishing, scheduled to be released this spring.

Bayard Rustin & James Baldwin: Freedom Fighters and Friends, will be held from 7 – 9 p.m. on February 24 at the Arena Stage, 1101 6th Street, SW. Washington. Tickets are free, however an RSVP is strongly encouraged at this link: For additional information, please contact: Ebony Blanks at