★ NAACP DRAMA COMMITTEE // also known as the DRAMA COMMITTEE OF THE NAACP, Washington, DC. Theatrical policy and planning group, active 1915/17. Appointed by the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) "for the purpose of studying ways and means of utilizing the stage in the service of its cause." According to * Leonard C. Archer ( Blk. Images in the Am. Th., p. 118), "The NAACP Drama Committee was the focal point for the beginning of the first Negro educational theatre [sic] as well as for the Negro Little Theatre Movement." * Alain Locke (who was a member of the committee, along with such notables as * Ernest E. Just, Anna J. Cooper, Clara Burrill Bruce, * W.E.B. Du Bois, and * Montgomery Gregory) later wrote that there was some division among the committee members on how to best achieve its purposes: "Between the divided elements of this Committee, the idea of the Negro race-drama was born. If ever the history of the Negro drama is written without the scene of a committee wrangle,. . . it will not be well-written. The majority [of committee members] wanted a performance; the minority a program. One play no more makes a theatre than one swallow a summer." The majority apparently won the day, as the major activity of the NAACP Drama Committee was the sponsorship in 1916 of a prodn. of * Angelina Grimké's play Rachel, which was hailed (perhaps incorrectly) at that time as a pioneering work in the use of racial propaganda to enlighten white Americans as to the plight of blacks in America. Based on a plot by NAACP Executive Secretary Walter White, Rachel dramatized the emotional impact on a sensitive young black woman of several incidents of racial violence that she experiences during her adolescence and young womanhood, which cause her to renounce her belief in God, to refuse to marry the man she loves, and to devote her life to caring for black children and protecting them from the trauma that
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Publication information: Book title: The African American Theatre Directory, 1816-1960:A Comprehensive Guide to Early Black Theatre Organizations, Companies, Theatres, and Performing Groups. Contributors: Bernard L. Peterson Jr. - Author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1997. Page number: 142.
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