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Reading Contemporary African American Drama

Fragments of History, Fragments of Self

Trudier Harris and Jennifer Larson

Contemporary African American dramatists such as Amiri Baraka, James Baldwin, August Wilson, and Suzan-Lori Parks as well as Lorraine Hansberry, Alice Childress, and Pearl Cleage find their creative inspiration in historical events from slavery to the civil rights movement. From the Emmett Till-inspired character in Baldwin’s Blues for Mister Charlie to Parks’s recreation of Lincoln and Booth, these playwrights show that history is the mirror that shapes the identities of African American writers and characters.