Black History IS American History. And the celebration and acknowledgement of Black culture goes well beyond the month of February.
We recognize through reflection the commitment of many Black Americans that were pioneers in their craft through their dedication, sacrifice and living. We celebrate the endless contributions of those past, present and future trail blazers. The Legacy Continues…
“Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.”
—Dr. Mae Jemison, first African-American female astronaut
Do you know about the American Negro Theatre (ANT)?
Formed by Abram Hill, Frederick O’Neal, and other actors in Harlem, New York in 1940, the American Negro Theatre (ANT) was an outgrowth of the illustrious Negro Unit of the Federal Theatre Project in Harlem. Active between 1940 and the mid-1950s, it was governed by four goals: to develop a permanent acting company trained in the arts and crafts of the theatre that also reflected the special gifts, talents, and attributes of African Americans; to produce plays that honestly and with integrity interpreted, illuminated, and criticized contemporary black life and the concerns of the black people (and particularly the Harlem community); to maintain an affiliation with, and provide leadership for, other black theatre groups throughout the nation; and to utilize its resources to develop racial pride in the theatre, rather than racial apathy. ANT’s program was divided into three categories: stage production and a training and radio program. The second category was an aggressive training program that launched the careers of some of the more recognizable African American artists in the field such as Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis, Frederick O’Neal, Alice Childress, Maxwell Granville, Hilda Simms, Earle Hyman, Clarice Taylor, Gordon Heath, Isabel Sanford, Roger Furman, and Rosetta LeNoire.
Pictured: Frederick O’Neal and Abram + A production photo of ANT’s Macbeth
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