In the early 1900s, many Black playwrights wrote works about lynching -- usually family-centered dramas focused on the tensions leading up to a lynching, or the effect on the family after a lynching. Given the renewed, legalized violence on black and brown bodies, JACK, in collaboration with Colloquy Collective, will present readings of five of these plays throughout the spring, with professional actors. Each reading will be followed by a discussion. In the age of #BlackLivesMatter, how do these stories still resonate with you?
Have you seen one any of the readings?
Don't forget to tweet/text/Facebook your responses at #StrangeFruit and #TellingOurStories!
Sunday, February 8
Sunday, March 8
Sunday, April 19
Sunday, May 17*
Sunday, June 7
Aftermath (1919), by Mary P. Burrill
The Forfeit (1925), by Corrie Crandall Howell
Blue-Eyed Black Boy (1930), by Georgia Douglas Johnson
Safe (1929), by Georgia Douglas Johnson
Excerpt from Rachel (1914), by Angelina Weld Grimké
With a discussion immediately following.
*Prof. Koritha Mitchell (Ohio State University), an expert on anti-lynching plays and author of the book Living with Lynching: African American Lynching Plays, Performance, and Citizenship, 1890 - 1930 (University of Illinois Press, 2011) will lead the post-show discussion.
February 6, 2015. New York Theatre Review. "Announcing the Launch of NYTR's Podcast Series: THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM: TEDDY NICHOLAS TALKS WITH ALEC DUFFY AND COURTNEY HARGE ABOUT ‘STRANGE FRUIT’ AT JACK"
February 10, 2015 Voices of New York. "Reviving Anti-Lynching Plays in Brooklyn"
February 26, 2015 Hyperallergic. "Early Anti-Lynching Plays, Read in Light of Ferguson"
April 17, 2015. NPR's Morning Edition. "Deaths Of Unarmed Black Men Revive 'Anti-Lynching Plays'"
Sunday, Feb. 8: Aftermath (1919), by Mary P. Burrill (1884-1946), tells the story of a young black soldier in World War I who comes back to rural South Carolina and learns that his father has been lynched by a white mob. He grabs his service revolver and leaves home to settle the score.
Sunday, March 8: Corrie Crandall Howell's The Forfeit (1925) depicts a white woman who facilitates the lynching of a young black man for a crime her own son has committed, delivering the young black man into the hands of a lynch mob in order to save her son. It presents an uncommon dramatic portrayal of white motherhood that umasks the racist and gendered assumptions of white male dominance and lynch mob mentality.
Sunday, April 19: In Georgia Douglas Johnson’s Blue-Eyed Black Boy (1930), a black mother attempts to avert the lynching of her son by revealing to a lynch mob that her son was the product of rape by the white governor. The play thrusts the issue of the sexual exploitation of the black woman into public discussion.
Sunday, May 17: The harrowing play, Safe (1929), by Georgia Douglas Johnson, depicts Liza, a pregnant mother, going into labor. After news of the lynching of an innocent black boy in town, Liza falls into a panicking state while her baby is born, and after learning that her baby is a boy, does the unthinkable. The reading will be followed by a discussion with Prof. Koritha Mitchell (Ohio State University), an expert on anti-lynching plays and author of the book Living with Lynching: African American Lynching Plays, Performance, and Citizenship, 1890 - 1930 (University of Illinois Press, 2011)
Sunday, June 7: We're reading all of the plays, plus excerpts from RACHEL (1914), by Angelina Weld Grimké.
AFTERMATH (1919), by Mary P. Burrill
THE FORFEIT (1925), by Corrie Crandall Howell
BLUE-EYED BLACK BOY (1930), by Georgia Douglas Johnson
SAFE (1929), by Georgia Douglas Johnson
Excerpt from RACHEL (1914), by Angelina Weld Grimké
Part of JACK's series FORWARD FERGUSON, a season-long firehouse of arts and activism around racial justice.