Declaration of Independence Road Show visits Vanderbilt

November 15, 2002

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — “We Own America,” a unique combination of history and hip-hop poetry aimed at promoting the involvement of an informed, passionate citizenry to help shape the fate of America, will be presented at 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17, at Vanderbilt’s Sarratt Cinema.

Brought to Vanderbilt by the Declaration of Independence Road Trip, the show will include a special screening of a filmed reading of the Declaration of Independence by co-executive producers Norman Lear and Rob Reiner featuring such distinguished actors as Morgan Freeman, Mel Gibson, Whoopi Goldberg and Renee Zellweger. Lear will be on hand to introduce the film.

In addition a special screening of a spoken word movement will be presented in response to the movie. Taking their cues from the revolutionary prose of the Declaration of Independence, three artists will showcase original poetry, combined with live beat-boxing, as they take a new look at what it means to be an American. Through words and beats, performers Steve Connell and Crystal Grant, backed by Joshua Silverstein, will take the audience on a lively journey through myths, funny truths and new meaning as they interpret the Declaration for a contemporary generation. 

Afterwards, Vanderbilt students Marissa Shrum of the Student Government Association, Jacob Grier of The Torch, a Vanderbilt student publication, and Alex Shoor, will challenge audience members to explore such timely issues as civic activism and the importance of voting.  At the conclusion, guests can view the Declaration of Independence and interact with the visiting poets.

This one-of-a-kind show is an extension of The Declaration of Independence Road Trip, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to bring “The People’s Document” directly to all Americans, especially young people, to inspire them to see citizenship as an opportunity, to participate in civic life, to exercise their rights, and, above all, to vote.  On campus sponsors include the Office of the Chancellor, the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Public Affairs, the Division of Student Life, the Office of University Events, the Provost’s Office, and Vanderbilt Residential Colleges.

For additional information, visit

Contact: Elizabeth Latt, 615-322-NEWS,

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