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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 ...


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 ...