By Christine R. Gray
During the Twenties and Nineteen Thirties, Willis Richardson (1889-1977) used to be hugely revered as a number one African-American playwright and drama anthologist. His performs have been played via a variety of black highschool, collage, and college drama teams and by means of theater businesses in Chicago, big apple, Washington D.C., Cleveland, Baltimore, and Atlanta. With the outlet of The Chip Woman's Fortune (1923), he turned the 1st African American to have a play produced on Broadway. numerous of his forty six performs have been released in various magazines, and in his essays, he instructed black americans to hunt their dramatic fabric of their personal lives and situations. furthermore, he edited 3 anthologies of performs by means of African-Americans. yet among 1940 and his dying in 1977, Richardson got here to gain that his performs have been interval items and they not mirrored the issues and occasions of African-Americans. within the years prior to his dying, he tried vigorously but unsuccessfully to maintain a number of of his performs via e-book, if now not construction. however the guy who has been known as the daddy of African-American drama and who was once thought of the wish and promise of African-American drama died in obscurity.
Richardson has even been missed through the scholarly group. This severe biography, the 1st wide attention of his lifestyles and paintings, firmly reestablishes his pioneering function in American theater. The e-book starts off with an in depth chronology, via a considerate biographical essay. the amount then examines the character of African-American drama within the Twenties, the interval in which Richardson used to be best, and it analyzes his method of drama as a method of training African-American audiences. It then explores the African-American group because the imperative subject matter in Richardson's performs, for Richardson generally appears to be like on the results of refusals by means of blacks to assist each other. The paintings also considers Richardson's background performs, his anthologies, his dramas meant for black little ones, and his essays. A concluding bankruptcy summarizes his lasting impact; the e-book closes with an inventory of his performs and an intensive bibliography.