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African American Performance in the Harlem Renaissance

  • David Krasner
Chapter

Abstract

This work brings together themes underlying black theatre, performance, and drama from 1910 to 1927. I pick up where my previous work, Resistance, Parody, and Double Consciousness in African American Theatre, 1895–1910 ,leaves off, with theatre and performance during what I term “the first half of the Harlem Renaissance—New Negro era.”3 The Harlem Renaissance was a watershed in American cultural history, and drama and performance were at the forefront of it. Regrettably, few studies acknowledge this fact. Yet drama and performance consistently played a pivotal role in the evolution of Black Nationalism, which in turn led to an indigenous black theatre; the development of black dramatic theory, which bolstered black literature as a whole; and the rise of black performance, which added significantly to black cultural expression. The era’s musical and literary content have received significant attention, which has led to an emphasis on selected areas of aesthetic development at the expense of others. I hope to correct the imbalance by bringing theatre, performance, and drama into focus.

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© David Krasner 2002

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  • David Krasner

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