First printing of this important antilynching play that "transformed African American theatre" (Mitchell), by the first major Black woman playwright.
Very good plus.
"[T]he first attempt to use the stage for race propaganda in order to enlighten the American people relative to the lamentable condition of ten millions of colored citizens of this free republic" – Original program notes
First performed in 1916, RACHEL was by no means the first play written by a Black woman, but it was the first nonmusical work by a Black author to achieve success outside of local Black community theaters. Koritha A. Mitchell explains the context of the early Harlem Renaissance play as a confluence of political activism and Black arts: "If negative portrayals warranted boycotts, picketing, and national letter-writing campaigns, then leaders placed a premium on scripts that favorably depicted African Americans. Therefore, they did not see antilynching drama as separate from their political activism. These plays were not creative accessories to the movement; they were very much part of it." RACHEL would become a model for many more plays based in political activism and go on to inspire generations of playwrights.
Read more: Peterson, Early Black American Playwrights and Dramatic Writers, 11; Mitchell, "Antilynching Plays: Angelina Weld Grimké, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, and the Evolution of African American Drama," in Post-Bellum, Pre-Harlem, 211, 214-215.
Boston: The Cornhill Company, (1920). Full title: Rachel: a play in three acts. 7.25'' x 5''. Original quarter green cloth, brown gilt-lettered paper boards. 96 pages. Light offsetting to endpapers, pages gently toned. Some spotting to boards, just a bit of wear to spine.
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