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Radical Black Theatre in the New Deal$
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Kate Dossett

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781469654423

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469654423.001.0001

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Making Space

(p.251) Conclusion
Radical Black Theatre in the New Deal

Kate Dossett

University of North Carolina Press

The conclusion considers the impact of Black Federal Theatre on the broader history of African Americans and the New Deal. It argues that African Americans did not wait to be inspired or reined in by New Deal programs, but rather devised new techniques and adapted existing dramatic forms to make space for Black authored dramas. The rich history of Black drama developed on the Federal Theatre Project has long been marginalized in histories of U.S. theatre and culture and isolated from the radical Black traditions it helped create. Knowledge producing practices of archival and academic institutions have long marginalized Black cultural histories. However the Black Arts Movement played a pivotal role in the recovery of Black Federal Theatre. The work of Theodore Ward was published for the first time in 1970s Black Theatre anthologies and celebrated by Black theatre artists such as Amiri Baraka. The history of the archive of the Federal Theatre Project is a reminder of how easily Black history can be buried as well as the long and rich theatre heritage which has shaped the radical Black tradition.

Keywords:   Radical Black tradition, New Deal, archives, knowledge production, Black Arts Movement, Amiri Baraka, Archives of Black theatre, Theodore Ward, Black Theatre anthologies

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