Black Broadway: African Americans on the Great White Way

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Just a few words of Saturday morning praise for Stewart F. Lane’s authoritative new book Black Broadway: African Americans on the Great White Way. It’s rare to come across a book this beautifully designed that’s also this useful a reference work. The book is a thorough and deep history of African Americans in theatre starting from the very beginning with New York’s African Grove Theatre (1821-1823), through minstrelsy, Tom shows, vaudeville and burlesque, key early figures like Williams and Walker, Will Marion Cook, Aida Overton Walker, the Harlem Renaissance, Lew Leslie’s Blackbirds, Paul Robeson, seminal shows like Cabin in the Sky and A Raisin in the Sun, right up through modern figures like August Wilson and Savion Glover. It’s a heritage to inspire all Americans. At any rate, it inspires the hell out of me. On top of that, if you’re no scholar, or even a reader (shame on you), it’s a gorgeous coffee table book full of photos and reproductions of posters, handbills and programs, and beautiful design elements endemic to the book. This one now has a privileged and permanent place in my library. I know I’ll be returning to it many times in the years to come. Get your copy here.

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