About

Black Acts

Creativity and Celebrity in Twentieth-Century Theater

Created by the students of “African American Theater” in the spring of 2013, this web exhibition was borne of a desire to explore different modes of writing, to make use of the amazing resources in black theater held by the Beinecke Library at Yale University, and to share those resources as a work of public scholarship. more . . .

Featured Items

Mr Poitier: Uptown and Downtown

Cover and Full-length feature article in July 1963 issue of "Cosmopolitan Magazine". Full-length feature highlights Poitier’s humble beginnings and approaches his "celebrity" status… ...more

Almanac Picture Book (back)

The back cover of a "picture book," with release timed to Harry Belafonte's performance in Almanac. The look of the photograph evokes Belafonte the stage actor, in contrast to the front… ...more

Vienna Notice

Advance copy of a Vienna notice of the 1965 touring production of "The Amen Corner" ...more

Almanac still

A studio portrait taken to document Harry Belafonte's performance in Almanac, for which he won a Tony. Belafonte hoped to have a career in theater and film. ...more

Chronological Summary of San Joaquin Valley Cotton Pickers Strike

Langston Hughes and Ella Winter compiled a chronology of the 1933 cotton pickers strike in the San Joaquin Valley, using article clippings from newspapers. ...more

As Thousands Cheer Playbill

Ethel Waters was hailed by most theater critics of both african american papers and white newspaper as the top performer in "As Thousands Cheer". Ethel Waters, and her number "Supper Time"… ...more

Cover of Collector's Playbill of Native Son

Early 1940's production of Native Son starring Canada Lee. Cover offers sketches of Canada Lee as Bigger Thomas and Anne Burr as Mary Dalton. ...more

Cotton Club Program

This Cotton Club program from a 1933 performance gives a clear depiction of the type of wealthy white theater goers that were meant to attend the Cotton Club and Ethel Waters performances. ...more

Two Page Spread of Native Son

This two page spread in the Brandts playbill offers a mix of images from the show Native Son, as well as some photos of Orson Welles directing amongst the cast. Most images here include… ...more

Africana Ticket 1927

Here we can see exactly how much focus was put on Waters in her 1927 performance of the all black revue Africana at Daly's 63rd Street Theater. The ticket, much like all the marketing for… ...more

Recent Items

Dust Tracks on a Road typed draft sample

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Typed draft with author emendations ...more

Baldwin Portrait

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One of Carl Van Vechten's Portraits of James Baldwin ...more

Vienna Notice

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Advance copy of a Vienna notice of the 1965 touring production of "The Amen Corner" ...more

Hamburg Program

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Hamburg program for the 1965 touring production of "The Amen Corner" ...more