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date: 30 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This essay traces the efforts of African American women to establish new voices in the American theater during the period from 1910 to 1945. It discusses the role of the Federal Theatre Project Negro Unit in providing opportunities for both African American playwrights and actors, and it highlights some “signal moments” during this period. These include the development of the Little Negro Theatre movement, the staging of Angelina Grimké’s groundbreaking play Rachel, and the establishment of African American acting troupes such as the American Negro Theatre and the Lafayette Players. This essay also considers the works of Mary Burrill, Georgia Douglas Johnson, and Zora Neale Hurston.

Keywords: African American women, American theater, Federal Theatre Project, Negro Unit, African American playwrights, African American actors, Rachel, Angelina Grimké, Mary Burrill, Georgia Douglas Johnson, Zora Neale Hurston

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