Rev. Coleman’s Impact Showcase in Larry Muhammad’s New Play


For 40 years he was Kentucky’s most outspoken advocate for social justice.

Bullhorn in hand – and affectionately known as “Buster” – Rev. Louis Coleman picketed every major institution in the state to advance civil rights, promote minority hiring and protest police misconduct.

He won a state-funded pollution program limiting toxic emissions in Rubbertown. He made the University of Louisville hire minority subcontractors to help build Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. He pushed Louisville Police to recruit more nonwhite officers, and even forced the PGA to expand the role of minorities in golf nationwide.

busterpostertake19“When I view the scriptures,” he once said, “I see where the Lord that I serve challenged evils in His society, and I feel strongly that the church ought to be about that too.”

Longtime head of the Justice Resource Center and pastor of First Congregational Methodist Church, Rev. Coleman also conducted gun buybacks and marched on crack houses, holding West End residents accountable for drugs and violence.

Now his inspiring saga of courage, faith and hope is brought to the stage in Larry Muhammad’s new musical BUSTER!, set to a rousing gospel score.

The play’s 15 characters are anchored by 6 historical figures from Louisville’s civil rights pantheon: Louis Coleman, Bobby Burks, Anne Braden, Mattie Earl Mathis, George Edwards and Willie Gray.

Presented by Kentucky Black Repertory Theatre, this is Muhammad’s first musical and fifth play bringing African-American Bluegrass history to the stage.

“I covered Rev. Coleman as a reporter for The Courier-Journal, and we talked briefly about my writing a biography – something impossible to pursue while I was writing about him the newspaper,” said Muhammad, whose previous history plays are HENRY BAIN’S NEW ALBANY, DOUBLE V, THE MAGNIFICENT STEPHEN and JOCKEY JIM. “But once I became a playwright, bringing his uplifting story to the stage was a priority.”

WHAT: “Buster!” A gospel musical in concert about Rev. Louis Coleman

WHERE: Henry Clay Theatre, 604 S. Third St., Louisville

WHEN: July 16, 17, 19, 23, 24, 25, 26, performed each night at 7:30 pm

TICKETS: $20 cash at the door.