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Edward T. Washington

scholar, theater historian, editor, playwright, and director, was born Errol Gaston Hill in Port of Spain, Trinidad, the son of Thomas David and Lydia (Gibson) Hill. Hill's father lived away from the family throughout the boy's childhood, but his mother, a singer and actress in the local Methodist Church, strongly influenced him to pursue a theatrical career. Hill's involvement with drama took a major step forward in the mid-1940s when he co-founded, with the international actor Errol John and others a local amateur theater group called the Whitehall Players While writing acting and directing in that group Hill developed an interest in Trinidadian carnival and steel band music By the early 1950s with the assistance and support of the Trinidad and Tobago Youth Council Hill was among the first Trinidadians to air steel band music on the radio Given the worldwide popularity of ...

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Amber Karlins

was born in Columbus, North Carolina to Willia Spaulding Mitchell and Ulysses Sanford Mitchell. Though he was born in the South, Mitchell’s family moved to New York City when he was very young, and he spent most of his childhood in the city. It was here that he was introduced to both theater and racial discrimination.

From a young age Mitchell grew up actively participating in the theater, writing plays for a local church group and studying drama at City College. However, after seeing how limited the opportunities were for Black actors, he decided to leave New York and transfer to Talladega College in Alabama, where he had been offered a scholarship. It was here that he began working on a paper that would eventually serve as the foundation for his acclaimed work Black Drama: The Story of the American Negro in the Theatre He majored in social work ...

Article

Melissa N. Stein

When Margaret Wilkerson was born, a rich tradition of black theater was developing that challenged the exaggerated caricature of minstrelsy and provided a vehicle for black talent outside mainstream theatrical productions, where African Americans were still largely relegated to bit parts or minstrel roles and black life was rarely represented realistically. However, this picture changed considerably over the course of Wilkerson’s life and career. As a scholar of theater arts and a prolific artist herself, Wilkerson has both chronicled and contributed to the creative boom in and increasing visibility of black theater in America.

Born in Los Angeles to George and Gladys Buford, Wilkerson proved an enthusiastic and gifted student during her undergraduate years of liberal arts education at the University of Redlands in California. She received her bachelor’s degree in history, with honors, in 1959—soon thereafter Lorraine Hansbery’s A Raisin in the Sun became the ...