Jefferson City,
13:54 PM

YLS to host final performance of the original cast of ‘The Milly Project'

The Young Lawyers’ Section of The Missouri Bar will present the final showings of two continuing legal education programs based on ‘The Milly Project.’ On May 25, the no-cost film will be shown in St. Louis, and on June 17 in Kansas City the final live performance of The Milly Project will take place at the Medallion Theater. 

The play, ‘The Milly Project,’ presents the true story of an enslaved woman named Milly Sawyers who fought for and legally won her freedom in Springfield prior to the Civil War and the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision. The play's passionate cast portrays the success and tragic consequences of Milly’s freedom suit, interweaving Milly’s story through a detailed timeline of American history past to present that invites the audience to consider history through the lens of the major events, the ever-changing laws, the attorneys, and the litigants that sought and shaped justice. 

“'The Milly Project' is an exploration into the early success and failure of the Missouri legal system and our collective memory,” says Kamillia Scott, YLS council member for District 3, Kansas City. “It’s time to have the tough conversations about the legacy of these events in an effort to improve our craft as attorneys.”   

The Milly Project was inspired by the 2017 discoveries of a local archivist, who unearthed handwritten court documents and manuscripts from the 1830s. Originally written and directed by teacher Kendra Chappell and her Advanced Acting high school students for an annual high school production, the play has blossomed into a nationally recognized production. In addition, the play has continued to be commissioned for performances across the state and country, and was recently adapted into a film production that was nominated for three awards at the New York International Film Festival including Best Screenplay (winner), Best Social Justice Film (winner), and Best Acting Ensemble. 

The film adaptation of the production was written and directed by Kendra Chappell, the author of the original play. The drama details the many trials and tribulations of Sawyers based on information regarding her life that was collected from handwritten court manuscripts only recently uncovered by local archivists. Click here to view a trailer of the film. 

YLS previously hosted CLE programs featuring the live play and entered into a licensing agreement for the film production of 'The Milly Project' to continue to widen the reach of Sawyers' unique story for continuing legal education purposes.

Both the film and the live performance qualify for elimination of bias and ethics credit. To receive CLE credit, participants must stay for the discussion of the film. 

St. Louis film
May 25
Held at the St. Louis University School of Law
2.2 MCLE / 2.2 E / 2.2 B

6 p.m. | Reception (food and drinks provided)  
6:30-7:30 p.m. | Film Presentation The Milly Project (2021) 
7:30-7:40 p.m.   Break
7:40-8:30 p.m.   Panel discussion 

Panelists: Judge David C. Mason, 22nd Judicial Circuit, St. Louis; Annette Slack, Director of Missouri Baptist University/BJC Partnership & Asst. Prof. Business Administration & Healthcare ManagementMichelle Bonner, Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis.

Attendees must stay for the ethics discussion to receive MCLE credit.

Kansas City performance
June 17
Held at the Medallion Theater in Kansas City
2.2 MCLE/ 2.2 E / 2.2 B

2 p.m. | Welcome and introduction by Christa Moss
2:05-3:10 p.m. | Performance
3:10-3:20 p.m. | Break
3:20-4:10 p.m. | Panel discussion
4:10 p.m. | Thank you by Missouri Bar YLS/dismissal

Lobby reception to follow

Panelists: Hon. Duane Benton, United States Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, Kansas City; Hon. Patricia A. Breckenridge, Missouri Supreme Court, Jefferson City; Adora Snead, Milly Project Lead Actress; Mayor Quinton Lucas, Kansas City

Moderator: Hon. Jalilah Otto, 16th Judicial Circuit, Kansas City

Attendees must stay for the discussion to receive MCLE credit.