Black Theatre: The Making of a Movement

Updated: Dec 31, 2021

In the documentary Black Theatre: the Making of a Movement directed by Woodie King Jr., it displays the evolution of how black culture in American theater can spark a revolution of black strength and power. The documentary takes place in Harlem, New York City where black directors and writers discuss their experiences on creative expression in order to present to not only the black community, however the white and hispanic communities on the everyday struggles of a black family. These experiences are told by the many that created the movement of black theater including Amiri Baraka, Lorraine Hansberry, James Earl Jones and Ntozake Shan

ge. The thought that is presented throughout the entire documentary is that revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe, you have to make it fall (Che Guevara).

The black community utilized the art form of theater by creating stories and productions that will express the subject of evolution and explored the lives of blacks living in america. They choose theater for creative expression, and to embrace and inspire the black community to take pride in their individuality and to utilize their strength. Blacks received this art form and inspired them to revolt against the Jim Crow laws that limited and backlashed the black community.

Director Amiri Baraka discusses the topic of slavery and the questions he has had about it. He states “What created Slavery? Why do the capitalists need slavery?, I never understood slavery, that was the moment I found most interesting. The three questions that I have about the documentary are: Did the stories displayed in the black theater spark black actors and producers of today to incorporate black culture in movies and t.v shows? How long did the process of bringing productions out of the community?


How do you express yourself?

What changes would you like to see in your community?

What other art forms can be used for creative expression?

What movements are you involved in? If you're not involved in any, what movements are important to you?

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