A Theatre of a History: Major Themes in Early African-American Theater and their Relations with the History
Keywords:African-American Theater, Slavery, Black Nationalism, Harlem, Colonization, Equity, Justice
Although it is not the first literary type that comes to mind related to African-American literature, the drama has become an important form of black self-expression. The black theater, modernized with time and adapted to the popular formats of the era, has achieved rapid development in the after-slavery period. The Harlem Renaissance was especially a booming era in this respect. This genre sometimes appears as a reinterpretation of the classics like Shakespeare's works with a black point of view, but most often it appears as exclusive works, belonging to, and produced for black people. Black Nationalism, mentioned in this case, is a theme frequently used in theatrical works. Besides, subjects such as slavery, which blacks have suffered from for many years; their search for rights due to the unfair practices they have endured; the utopia of a new beginning as free blacks in another country; and the lives of historical personalities that have marked the blacks' struggle for freedom, are also among the themes that the black theater has used most frequently. In this study, the relationship between the history and the theater of blacks in America will be analyzed by exemplifying and discussing major themes used in the early African-American Theatre.
Andrews, W. L. (2001). Turner, Nat. In W. L. Andrews, F. S. Foster, & T. Harris (Eds.), The Concise Oxford Companion to African American Literature (pp. 401–402). Oxford University Press.
Bennett, L. (1993). Before the Mayflower: A History of Black America (6th ed.). Penguin.
Berke, A., Bleil, R. R., Cofer, J., & Davis, D. (2019). Writing the Nation: A Concise Introduction to American Literature—1865 to Present. University of North Georgia Press.
Blake, J. H. (1969). Black Nationalism. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 382(1), 15–25.
Cuddon, J. A. (2013). A Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory (5th ed.). Penguin Books.
Edis, Z., & Bilem, M. (2019). Harlem Renaissance. Vankulu Sosyal Araştırmalar Dergisi, 3, 35–53.
Edis, Z., & Görmez, A. (2019). ‘Minstrel’ Gösterilerde Siyah Klişe Tipler. In F. Tüminçin & K. Baran (Eds.), SADAB 5th International Social Research and Behavioral Sciences Symposium (pp. 148–154).
Fremon, D. K. (2000). The Jim Crow Laws and Racism in American History. Enslow.
Graham, M. (2004). Introduction. In M. Graham (Ed.), The Cambridge Companion to the African American Novel (pp. 1–13).
Gray, R. (2011). A Brief History of American Literature. Wiley-Blackwell.
Hatch, J. (1987). Some African Influences on the Afro-American Theatre. In E. Hill (Ed.), The Theatre of Black Americans (pp. 13–29). Applause.
Hatch, J. (1991). Two Hundred Years of Black and White Drama. In L. Hamalian & J. V. Hatch (Eds.), The Roots of African American Drama: An Anthology of Early Plays, 1858-1938 (pp. 15–41). Wayne State University Press.
Hay, S. A. (1999). African American Theatre: A Historical and Critical Analysis. Cambridge University Press.
Hill, E. (1986). The Revolutionary Tradition in Black Drama. Theatre Journal, 38(4), 408.
Hill, E. (1987). Introduction. In E. Hill (Ed.), The Theatre of Black Americans (pp. 1–11). Applause.
Hughes, L., & Duffy, S. (2000). The Political Plays of Langston Hughes. Southern Illinois University Press.
Krasner, D. (2002). A Beautiful Pageant: African American Theatre, Drama, and Performance in the Harlem Renaissance, 1910–1927. Palgrave Macmillan.
Lapsansky-Werner, E. J., & Bacon, M. H. (2005). Back to Africa: Benjamin Coates and the Colonization Movement in America, 1848-1880 (E. J. Lapsansky-Werner & M. H. Bacon (eds.)). The Pennsylvania State University Press.
Mayo, S. M. (2019). Black Theatre History Plays: Remembering, Recovering, Re- Envisioning. In A. P. Kathy, L. R. Sandra, A. C. Renée, & F. D. Thomas (Eds.), The Routledge Companion to African American Theatre and Performance (pp. 29–33). Routledge.
Muzorewa, G. P. (2007). Black Nationalism. In W. Samuels (Ed.), Encyclopedia of African American Literature (pp. 53–54). Facts On File.
NAACP Foundation. (n.d.). About the NAACP: Our Mission. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.naacp.org/about-us/
Nadler, P. (2002). Black Theatre. In C. Chambers (Ed.), The Continuum Companion to Twentieth Century Theatre (pp. 92–96). Continuum.
Shields, J. C. (2001). Colonial and Early National Eras. In W. L. Andrews, F. S. Foster, & T. Harris (Eds.), The Concise Oxford Companion to African American Literature (pp. 457–461). Oxford University Press.
Turner, D. T. (1987). Langston Hughes as Playwright. In E. Hill (Ed.), The Theatre of Black Americans (pp. 136–147). Applause.
Vanspanckeren, K. (1994). Outline of American Literature. US Department of State.
Wallenfeldt, J. (2011). The Black Experience in America: From Civil Rights to the Present. Britannica Educational.
Wallis, M. (2002). Pageant. In C. Chambers (Ed.), The Continuum Companion to Twentieth Century Theatre (pp. 579–581). Continuum.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2020 International Journal of Social, Political and Economic Research
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.