Douglas Turner Ward (1930- )

Douglas Turner Ward, an actor, director, and playwright, was considered a legend in 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 … Read MoreDouglas Turner Ward (1930- )

Bill “Bojangles” Robinson (1878-1949)

Entertainer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson’s original name was Luther Robinson. He was born on May 25, 1878, to Maxwell, a machinist, and Maria Robinson, a church choir director, in Richmond Virginia. Both parents died tragically in 1885.  Robinson did not like his birth name, Luther, and … Read MoreBill “Bojangles” Robinson (1878-1949)

The Negro Ensemble Company (1967- )

The Negro Ensemble Company (NEC) was founded in New York City, New York during the summer of 1967, under the direction of actor Robert Hooks, actor, playwright, director Douglas Turner Ward, and producer, director Gerald Krone. From its beginning, NEC was criticized for its integrated … Read MoreThe Negro Ensemble Company (1967- )

Federal Theatre Project (Negro Units)

In 1935, in the middle of the Great Depression President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Administration created the Works Progress Administration Federal Theatre Project (FTP) as part of the New Deal economic recovery program. Negro units, also called The Negro Theatre Project (NTP), were set up in … Read MoreFederal Theatre Project (Negro Units)

American Negro Theatre (ca. 1940-1955)

Harlem Federal Theatre Project Production of MacBeth (FTP was the Predecessor to the American Negro Theater) Image Courtesy of the Library of Congress Formed by Abram Hill, Frederick O’Neal, and other actors in Harlem, New York in 1940, the American Negro Theatre (ANT) was an … Read MoreAmerican Negro Theatre (ca. 1940-1955)