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

Photos of Canada Lee

Different depictions of Canada Lee as Bigger Thomas. Many of the more violent/poignant moments of the play are depicted through these images. ...more

Giant strides

A 1950s article entitled "Giant Strides of U.S. Negro." The accompanying photograph speaks to the mutability of Harry Belafonte's race identity in the public eye. ...more

Playbills from Moscow Brought Back by Hughes in 1933

Langston Hughes returned from a trip to Russia, China, and Japan in 1933 having attended many performances – including the Moscow Theatre Festival. ...more


Published photograph of Harry Belafonte with fiancee (later, second wife) Julie Robinson at an event celebrating the completion of film "Carmen Jones." The photograph and caption are… ...more

Playbills from "A Raisin in the Sun"

Several playbills highlighting Poitier's starring role as Walter Lee Younger in Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun" ...more

Vienna Newspaper Article

Viennese newspaper review of the 1965 tour of "The Amen Corner" ...more

Post teaser

A teaser add published in the New York Post. Its text and graphic suggest the degree to which Harry Belafonte's rise to fame was regarded as anomalous. ...more

Sketch of Act I Scene 5, Harvest

Langston Hughes created overviews of each scene with information about the major themes and action. ...more

Recent Items

Dust Tracks on a Road typed draft sample

Typed draft with author emendations ...more

Baldwin Portrait

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

Vienna Notice

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

Hamburg Program

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