Phylicia Rashad takes on directing role

FILE - In this Oct. 26, 2009 file photo, actress Phylicia Rashad enters the Kennedy Center to attend the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, honoring Bill Cosby, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, file)

September 16, 2013 6:55:45 AM PDT
Phylicia Rashad is best known for starring roles on stage and television, but as a director she'll commemorate a historic moment that helped spur the civil rights movement.

The Tony Award-winning actress is directing a reading of the play "Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963" at the Kennedy Center Sunday to mark the 50th anniversary of the bombing at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. Four girls were killed in the explosion, which was set by white supremacists and helped spur passage of landmark civil rights legislation.

Rashad, who is recognized for her portrayal as the matriarch on "The Cosby Show" TV series and Broadway's "A Raisin in the Sun," said she wants the reading to emphasize the "sanctity of joy, human existence and the value of all life."