By Christine R. Gray
During the Nineteen Twenties and Thirties, Willis Richardson (1889-1977) used to be hugely revered as a number one African-American playwright and drama anthologist. His performs have been played by means of quite a few black highschool, collage, and collage drama teams and by means of theater businesses in Chicago, manhattan, Washington D.C., Cleveland, Baltimore, and Atlanta. With the hole of The Chip Woman's Fortune (1923), he turned the 1st African American to have a play produced on Broadway. numerous of his forty six performs have been released in various magazines, and in his essays, he prompt black americans to hunt their dramatic fabric of their personal lives and conditions. moreover, he edited 3 anthologies of performs via African-Americans. yet among 1940 and his dying in 1977, Richardson got here to achieve that his performs have been interval items and they not mirrored the issues and events of African-Americans. within the years earlier than his dying, he tried vigorously but unsuccessfully to maintain a number of of his performs via e-book, if now not creation. however the guy who has been referred to as the daddy of African-American drama and who was once thought of the wish and promise of African-American drama died in obscurity.
Richardson has even been missed via the scholarly neighborhood. This severe biography, the 1st huge attention of his existence and paintings, firmly reestablishes his pioneering function in American theater. The e-book starts with an in depth chronology, by way of a considerate biographical essay. the amount then examines the character of African-American drama within the Twenties, the interval within which Richardson was once best, and it analyzes his method of drama as a way of training African-American audiences. It then explores the African-American neighborhood because the crucial subject matter in Richardson's performs, for Richardson in most cases appears on the results of refusals by way of blacks to assist each other. The paintings also considers Richardson's historical past performs, his anthologies, his dramas meant for black young children, and his essays. A concluding bankruptcy summarizes his lasting impression; the booklet closes with an inventory of his performs and an in depth bibliography.
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