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Playwrights

Baraka, Amiri (1934-2014)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of Amiri Baraka

Everett Leroi Jones, poet, playwright, activist, and educator, was born on October 7, 1934, in Newark, New Jersey to Coyt Leverrette Jones and Anna Lois Jones.  He attended primary and secondary schools in Newark and in 1954 he earned a B.A. in English from Howard University.  Jones joined the military that same year, serving three years in the Air Force as a gunner. 

Following his honorable discharge, Jones he settled in Greenwich Village in lower Manhattan where he socialized with Beatnik artists, musicians, and writers.  While living in the Village, he also met and married Hettie Cohen, a Jewish writer.  The couple co-edited the progressive literary magazine Yugen.  They also founded Totem Press, which published the works of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and other political activists.

Sources: 

Peniel E. Joseph, Waiting ’Til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2006); Kwame A. Appiah and Henry Louis Gates, eds., Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African & African American Experience (New York: Basic Civitas Books, 1999), 181; http://www.amiribaraka.com/

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Berea College

Holland, Endesha Ida Mae (1944-2006)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

Dr. Endesha Ida Mae Holland was born into abject poverty in Greenwood, Mississippi. She experienced extreme racism, lack of options, and little support to change her life. As a teenager she quit school, turned to prostitution and theft as a way to make it in the world she knew – a world that included being raped by a neighbor, multiple “fathers” and broken dreams.

Her first time in jail was as a teenager having dropped out of school and turned towards a life of prostitution and theft. She was sentenced to thirty days in the county jail – but this wouldn’t be the last time. She went to prison on assault and battery charges after having married, given birth, and found her husband cheating. When she was released from prison, her options were narrow and she returned to “streetwalking” – the life she knew.

This time, the man she pursued was active in SNCC. Holland pursued him all the way back to SNCC offices where she was introduced to the Civil Rights Movement. Ms. Holland would go to jail many times in her future, not for streetwalking but for protesting with the Movement. One these trips included the state penitentiary with other Civil Rights activists. After thirty-three days, she was released and shortly thereafter met Dr. Jackson and Dr. King.

Contributor2: 
Affiliation: 
Seattle University, Antioch McGregor University

Cotter, Joseph Seamon, Sr. (1861-1949)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 Joseph Seamon Cotter, Sr., the father of poet-playwright Joseph Seamon, Jr., distinguished himself as a playwright, poet, author, and educator. Cotter was born in Bardstown, Kentucky in 1861, but was reared in Louisville. He was one of the earliest African American playwrights to be published. His father, Michael J. Cotter, was of Scots-Irish ancestry, and his mother, Martha Vaughn, was an African American. Cotter, Sr. married Maria F.

Sources: 
Anthony Duane Hill, ed., An Historical Dictionary of African American Theater (Prevessin, France: Scarecrow Press, 2008).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Ohio State University

Cotter, Joseph Seamon, Jr. (1895-1919)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain

John Seamon Cotter, Jr., a talented playwright, journalist, and poet, was born and reared in Louisville, Kentucky. The son of journalist, playwright, poet, teacher and community developer Joseph Seamon Cotter, Sr., the younger Cotter’s education began with his sister Florence Olivia teaching him to read. Cotter graduated from Louisville’s Central High School in 1911, where his father was the school principal and his teacher. His mother, Maria F. Cox, was also a teacher at the school. Cotter attended Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee for two years before being stricken with tuberculosis, a disease that earlier claimed the life of his sister Florence in 1914.  

Joseph Cotter, Jr., completed a collection of one-act plays and poetry during the last seven years of his life. He also wrote one play, On the Fields of France, a protest play in one act which was published in 1920 after his death.  It followed the last hours of two American army officers, one black, one white, both mortally wounded, who ultimately died hand in hand on a battlefield in northern France wondering why they could not have lived in peace and friendship in the United States.  Cotter wrote two other plays, The White Folks’ Nigger and Caroling Dusk which were never published.  Cotter died of tuberculosis in Louisville in 1919 at the age of 24.

Sources: 
Anthony Duane Hill, ed., An Historical Dictionary of African American Theater (Prevessin, France: Scarecrow Press, 2008).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Ohio State University

Hughes, Langston (1902-1967)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of the Library of Congress
Sources: 
Faith Berry, Langston Hughes: Before and Beyond Harlem (Westport, Ct.: L. Hill, 1983); Nathan Huggins, Harlem Renaissance (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971); Arnold Rampersad, The Life of Langston Hughes 2 vols. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986-88).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Boston College

Thurman, Wallace (1902-1934)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Sources: 

Langston Hughes, The Big Sea (New York: Hill and Wang, 1940); Eleonore van Notten, Wallace Thurman’s Harlem Renaissance (Atlanta: Rodopi, 1994); Lawrence T. Potter, Jr., “Wallace Thurman,” in Encyclopedia on African American Writers, Wilfred D. Samuels, ed. (New York: Facts on File, 2007).

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Utah

Hansberry, Lorraine (1930-1965)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Lorraine Hansberry was one of the most significant and influential playwrights of the 20th Century. Her landmark play A Raisin in the Sun, which opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in New York City in 1959, was the first play written by an African American woman to be produced on Broadway. Hansberry’s account of the struggles of an urban black family was an overnight success, running some 530 performances, and winning a New York Drama Critics Circle Award and four Tonys for Best Play, Director, Actress and Actor. It is generally credited with breaking down the racial barriers to Broadway, and ushering in a new era of opportunity for black women playwrights. The play was made into a movie in 1961 with Sidney Poitier and Claudia McNeil reprising their roles, and Ms. Hansberry writing the screenplay.
Sources: 
Anthony D. Hill, An Historical Dictionary of African American Theater (Prevessin, France: Scarecrow Press, 2007).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Grimke, Angelina Weld (1880-1958)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

Angelina Weld Grimke was born into a legacy of advocacy for racial justice. As the daughter of Archibald Grimke, the second black to graduate from Harvard law and vice-president of the NAACP, Grimké’s heritage of racial equality can be further traced to her grand aunts, Angelina and Sarah Grimke, prominent abolitionists and advocates of women’s rights.

Upon graduating the Boston Normal School of Gymnastics (now Wellesley College) in 1902, Angelina embarked on a career teaching English in Washington, D.C. that would last until 1926. It is during her teaching career that she begins to write.  Her poetry, short stories and essays were published in The Crisis, Alain Locke’s The New Negro, in Countee Cullen’s Caroling Dusk and in Robert Kerlin’s Negro Poets and Their Poems.

Sources: 

Carolivia Herron, Selected Works of Angelina Weld Grimke (London: Oxford University Press, 1991); http://www.dclibrary.org/blkren/bios/grimkeaw.html

Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Brown, William Wells (1814?-1884)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
William Wells Brown was an African American antislavery lecturer, groundbreaking novelist, playwright and historian.  He is widely considered to have been the first African American to publish works in several major literary genres. Known for his continuous political activism especially in his involvement with the anti-slavery movement, Brown is widely acclaimed for the effectiveness of many of his writings.  

Brown was born to a white father and enslaved mother on a plantation outside of Lexington, Kentucky, most likely in 1814.  He spent his childhood and much of his young adult life as a slave in St. Louis, Missouri working a variety of trades.  Brown slipped away from his owner's steamboat while it was docked in Cincinnati and thereafter declared himself a free man on New Year’s Day 1834.  Shortly thereafter he was taken in and helped to safety by Mr. and Mrs. Wells Brown, a white Quaker family. William would adopt their names in respect for the help they provided him.   

William Wells Brown settled briefly in Cleveland, Ohio where he married a free African American woman.  They had two daughters.  Later Brown moved his family to Buffalo, New York where he spent nine years working both as a steamboat worker on Lake Erie and a conductor for the Underground Railroad.  
Sources: 
William E. Farrison, William Wells Brown: Author and Reformer (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1969); Paul Jefferson, The Travels of William Wells Brown (New York: Markus Wiener, 1991); Herb Boyd, Autobiography of a People: Three Centuries of African American History Told by Those Who Lived It (New York: Doubleday, 2000).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

DuBois, Shirley Graham (1896-1977)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Shirley Graham DuBois and
her Husband, W.E.B. DuBois
Image Courtesy of David Graham DuBois
Musicologist, playwright, novelist and political activist Lola Shirley Graham, born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1896, became the second wife to W.E.B. DuBois in 1951.  Lola Shirley Graham was taught at a young age to stand up to injustice.  She wrote her first editorial to an Indianapolis paper protesting racial discrimination when she was 13, after she was denied access to a YWCA swimming pool.

Young Graham moved several times throughout her life as her family followed her father, African Methodist Episcopal minister, David A. Graham.  The family lived in Indianapolis, New Orleans, Nashville, Colorado Springs and Spokane, Washington where she graduated from Lewis and Clark High School.  Graham met and married her first husband, Shadrach McCants, when she was 21 and living in Seattle.  Her father, the minister at First AME Church in Seattle, presided over the ceremony.  Two sons, Robert and David, were born in 1923 and 1925 respectively.  In 1927 Graham and McCants divorced in Portland, Oregon.  
Sources: 
Gerald Horne, Race Woman: The Lives of Shirley G. DuBois (New York: New York University Press, 2002); Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., eds., Africana, Arts and Letters: An A-Z Reference of Writers, Musicians, and Artists of the African and African-American Experience (New York: Running Press, 2005);
http://www.jimcrowhistory.org/scripts/jimcrow/women.ogi
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Kennedy, Adrienne (1931- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Adrienne Kennedy has earned a place as one of contemporary America’s most renowned and admired African American authors, lecturers and playwrights. Kennedy was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on September 13, 1931 to Cornell Wallace and Etta (Haugabook) Hawkins. Kennedy spent her childhood in Cleveland, Ohio, where she attended public schools.  She graduated from Ohio State University with a B.A in Education in 1953. In May of that same year she wed Joseph C. Kennedy with whom she had two children. After the birth of her oldest son, Kennedy continued to pursue her education by attending Columbia University (1954-56), the American Theatre Wing, the New School of Social Research, and Circle in the Square Theatre School. Kennedy also participated in Edward Albee's Theatre Workshop, in New York City.

Kennedy is most known for her role in the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and early 1970s.  She was a founding member of the Women’s Theatre Council in 1971.  Her publications include An Evening with Dead Essex, The Owl Answers, Deadly Triplets, and A Movie Star Has to Star in Black and White. Other writings include the autobiographical works, Funnyhouse of a Negro and Pale Blue Flowers.  
Kennedy also served as editor of Black Orpheus: A Journal of African and Afro-American Literature.
Sources: 
"Adrienne Kennedy" in The Concise Oxford Companion to African American Literature (New York: Oxford University Press);
“Adrienne Kennedy” <http://www.upress.umn.edu/misc/kennedy/kennedy.html>
Contributor2: 
Affiliation: 
Berea College

Anderson, Garland (1886-1939)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
A pioneer playwright and moralistic philosopher of constructive thinking, Garland Anderson was the first African American known to have a serious full-length drama produced on Broadway. Active in the theatre for over 10 years during the 1920s and 1930s, he achieved national prominence as “the San Francisco Bellhop Playwright.”

Garland Anderson was born in Wichita, Kansas.  He completed only four years of formal schooling before the family moved to California. Working as a bellhop in a San Francisco hotel, he often shared his optimistic philosophy of life with guests who encouraged him to write about his ideas. Anderson believed an individual might achieve anything in life through faith.

Anderson became a playwright after viewing a production of Channing Pollock’s moralistic drama The Fool.  Anderson wrote his first play, Appearances (1924), in only three weeks, with no training in playwriting style or technique. Failing to find a producer, he personally raised $15,000 towards the production. Despite numerous obstacles, his play opened on Broadway in 1925 with the help and support of the actor, Al Jolson and the President of the United States, Calvin Coolidge. The play, Appearances was a courtroom drama about a bellboy on trial who was falsely accused of raping a white woman. Owing to the central character’s strong moral convictions, he was eventually exonerated.
Sources: 
Garland Anderson, Uncommon Sense: The Law of Life in Action (London: L.N Fowler & Company 1933); Anthony Duane Hill, ed., An Historical Dictionary of African American Theater (Prevessin, France: Scarecrow Press, 2008)
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Ohio State University

Bullins, Ed (1935- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Ed Bullins was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1935. He was raised by his mother on Philadelphia’s North side, a community considered troubled and crime-ridden. Bullins has often recounted his near fatal death by stabbing while he was a youth. Many scholars note that this life-changing experience was the thematic basis for several of his early plays. Bullins joined the US Navy after dropping out of high school in 1952, and in 1958 (after returning to Philadelphia for a short time) he moved to southern California.

Bullins first exercised his love of writing and literature while a student at Los Angeles City College. In 1964 he moved to San Francisco. A year later while a creative writing student at San Francisco State College he wrote his first play, How Do You Do? In 1965 two other plays by Bullins appeared, Dialect Determinism (or The Rally), and Clara's Ole Man.
Sources: 
Nathan L. Grant, “Ed Bullins” The Oxford Companion to African American Literature, Ed. William Andrews, Frances Smith Foster, and Trudier Harris (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997); Ed Bullins, “The Official Website of the Playwright and Producer,” http://www.edbullins.com/, accessed October 20, 2007.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Armstrong Atlantic State University

Shange, Ntozake \ Williams, Paulette (1948- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
The author, poet, and playwright, Paulette Williams (right), was born in 1948 in Trenton, New Jersey.  Until she was eight, she lived in a racially diverse community among well educated upper middle class black and white families.  She socialized with prominent musicians and performers such as Dizzy Gillespie, Chuck Berry, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and Josephine Baker, all of whom were friends of her parents.  

In 1956, the Williams family moved to racially segregated St. Louis where they remained for five years.  In St. Louis, Paulette was exposed to music, dance, art, literature, and opera but also to overt racism at her elementary school, which was one of the first in the nation to become embroiled in the tension over desegregation following the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision.  At thirteen, Paulette returned to New Jersey where she was now much more observant of the inequities that were customarily faced by black American women.
Sources: 

Philip U. Effiong, In Search of a Stylistic Model for Modern African-American Drama: The example of Lorraine Hansberry, Ntozake Shange (Paulette Williams), and Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1993); Sandra L. Richards, Conflicting Impulses in the Plays of Ntozake Shange (St. Louis: St. Louis University Press, 1983); Arlene Elder, “Sassafras, Cypress & Indigo: Ntozake Shange’s Neo-Slave/Blues Narrative,” African American Review (1992);  Rutgers University “Women of Color, Women of Words.” http://www.scils.rutgers.edu/~cybers/shange2.html

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Fuller, Charles Henry, Jr. (1939- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of Center for Program in
Contemporary Writing, University of Pennsylvania
  
Charles Fuller was born on March 5, 1939 to parents Charles H. Sr. and Lillian Anderson Fuller of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Fuller was the oldest of three children, but would see his parents welcome some twenty foster children into their home over the years.  Fuller attended Philadelphia’s Roman Catholic High School and graduated in 1956.  During his high school years, Fuller spent countless hours in the school library, and competed with a friend, Larry Neal, to become the first to read every book in the school’s collection.  This experience helped spawn Fuller’s dream of becoming a writer.   

After graduation from high school, Fuller attended Villanova University in Pennsylvania between 1956 and 1958.  He then enlisted in the U. S. Army and spent the next four years stationed in Japan and Korea.  Fuller returned to civilian life in 1962 and in August of that year he married Miriam A. Nesbitt.  
Sources: 
Thadius M. Davis and Trudier Harris, eds., Dictionary of Literary Biography, volume 38: Afro-American Writers After 1955: Dramatists and Prose Writers (Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research Company, 1985); www.whyy.org/about/pressroom/documents/CharlesFullerbio.doc 
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Browne, Theodore R. (c. 1910-1979).

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
A pioneer playwright, actor, author, and teacher, Theodore Browne was best known for his association with the Negro Unit of the Federal Theatre in Seattle Washington in the 1930s. He was also an original member of the American Negro Theatre (ANT) and one of the founders of the Negro Playwrights Company, both in New York. Brown was born in Suffolk, Virginia, and educated in the public schools of New York City. Browne received advanced degrees at the City College of New York (1941) and at Northeastern University (1944) in Boston.
Sources: 
Anthony Duane Hill, ed., An Historical Dictionary of African American Theater (Prevessin, France: Scarecrow Press, 2008).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Ohio State University

King, Woodie, Jr. (1937- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of Black Masks
Theatre pioneer Woodie King Jr. is a director, actor, playwright, screen-writer, television scriptwriter, essayist, short-story writer, and consultant. Hailed as “the Renaissance Man of Black Theatre,” he was the most successful and prolific black producer in the world. For over 35 years, as founding director of the seminal New Federal Theatre (NFT), King produced nearly 200 theatre productions and over 5,000 performances and provided a showcase for over 1,000 actors, directors, and designers.  

King was born on July 27, 1937 in Baldwin Springs, Alabama. His family moved to Detroit where he grew up.  King received his theatrical training at Cass Technical High School in Detroit in the mid-1960s, Will-O-Way School of Theatre, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (1958-1962), Wayne State University, and the Detroit School of Arts and Crafts. He also studied drama with Lloyd Richards under a 1965 John Hay Whitney Fellowship.

As co-founded of the Concept East Theatre (CET) in Detroit with Ronald Milner in 1960, King held the position of manager and artistic director. He directed several plays by some of the leading black writers, such as Milner and Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), and by white playwrights such as Edward Albee.
Sources: 
Anthony Duane Hill, ed., An Historical Dictionary of African American Theater (Prevessin, France: Scarecrow Press, 2008).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Ohio State University

Ward, Douglas Turner (1930- )

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Douglas Turner Ward, an actor, director and playwright is considered a living legend in the world of African American theatre. Although he has achieved much during his lifetime, his co-founding of the Negro Ensemble Company (NEC) in 1968, ranks as his greatest achievement. NEC has spawned over 200 productions within a 35 year period. It has been the incubator of opportunity for such talents as Denzel Washington, Phylicia Rashad, Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett, Giancarlo Esposito, Laurence Fishburne, Esther Rolle, Cleavon Little, Frances Foster, Sherman Helmsley, David Alan Grier, and Lynn Whitfield.

Playwrights such as Paul Carter Harrison, Charles Fuller, Judy Ann Mason, Joseph A. Walker, Philip Hayes Dean, J. E. Franklin, Endesha Mae Holland, and Aisah Rahman have all found a nurturing environment for the production of their plays. NEC was the flagship theatre for the torrid black arts movement of the halcyon 1960s civil rights movement.  
Sources: 
Anthony Duane Hill, ed., An Historical Dictionary of African American Theater (Prevessin, France: Scarecrow Press, 2008)
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historians

Clarke, George Elliott (1960- )

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
George Elliott Clarke, a poet, playwright and literary critic is also the E.J Pratt Professor of Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto (Ontario). Clarke was born near the Black Loyalist community of Windsor Plains, Nova Scotia. He is a seventh generation Canadian descendant of black loyalists who were repatriated from the United States to British Canada immediately after the American Revolution.  
Sources: 
George Elliott Clarke, Africadian History (Kentville: Gaspereau Press, 2001); George Elliott Clarke, Odysseys Home: Mapping African-Canadian Literature (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002); George Elliott Clarke, Black (Vancouver: Raincoast Books, 2006); George Elliott Clarke, George & Rue (New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2007). http://www.writers.ns.ca/Writers/gsclarke.html
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Hill, Leslie Pinckney (1880-1960)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

Leslie Pinckney Hill was an educator, author, poet, dramatist, and community leader. He was born in Lynchburg, Virginia on May 14, 1880 to Samuel H. Hill, a former slave, and Sarah E. Hill. He received his primary education in Lynchburg, where as a child he played the trumpet and visualized a career in music. His family eventually moved to East Orange, New Jersey, where he transferred to the local high school. Due to accelerated study, he was able to skip his junior year and graduated close to the top of his class in 1898.

In 1899 Hill enrolled at Harvard University where he had a scholarship and also worked as a writer and waiter. On the debate team, during his junior year he won second place in the Boylston Prize oratory competition. In 1903 Hill was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated cum laude in his class.  In 1904, he also received his master's degree in education from Harvard.

Sources: 
Anne P. Rice and Michelle Wallace, Witnessing Lynching: American Writers Respond (New Brunswick, N. J.: Rutgers University Press, 2003); Joseph M. Flora, Amber Vogel and Bryan Albin Giemza, Southern Writers: A New Biographical Dictionary (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2006); Rayford Logan and Michael R. Winston, eds., Dictionary of American Negro Biography (New York: W.W. Norton, 1982); Werner Sollors, Caldwell Titcomb, and Thomas A. Underwood, Blacks at Harvard: A Documentary Experience at Harvard and Radcliffe (New York: NYU Press, 1993).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Downing, Henry Francis (1846-1928)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Henry Francis Downing was an author, playwright, consul and sailor. He was born in New York City in 1846, the son of Henry and Nancy Downing. His family maintained an oyster business that had been owned by his grandfather, Thomas Downing, a well known freeman.  His uncle was famed New York businessman and civil rights leader, George Thomas Downing.
Sources: 
Rayford Logan and Michael R. Winston, eds., Dictionary of American Negro Biography (New York: W. W. Norton, 1982); Jeffrey Green, “Future Research,” Black Music Research Journal, Vol. 21, No. 2 (Autumn, 2001).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Lindsay, Powell (1905-1987)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Henry T. Sampson, Blacks in Black and White (Metuchen: Scarecrow Press, 1995); Errol G. Hill, A History of African American Theatre (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003); Loften Mitchell, Black Drama (New York: Hawthorn Books, 1967). 
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Dumas, Alexandre (Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie), (1802 – 1870)

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
Image Ownership: Public Domain

Alexandre Dumas père, prolific playwright, novelist, travel writer and historian, was born on the 24th July 1802 to Marie Louise Labouret and her husband Thomas Alexandre Davy de la Pailleterie, who was a military general under Napoleon I. Dumas’ paternal grandfather was the Marquis Antoine-Alexandre Davy de la Pailleterie who fell in love with and married Dumas’ grandmother, Marie Louise Cessette Dumas, an African-Caribbean slave from San Domingo (now Haiti).
Sources: 
F.W.J. Hemmings, The King of Romance: A Portrait of Alexandre Dumas (Hamish Hamilton, London: 1979); G.R. Pearce, Dumas Pere: Great Lives (The Camelot Press Ltd., London & Southampton, 1934); The Alexandre Dumas pere website, www.cadytech.com/dumas/biographie.php; The Literary Network, www.online-literature.com/dumas (Jalic Inc. 2000-2010).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Sussex (England)
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