Using Black Rage to Elucidate African and African American Identity in August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (1911)

  • C. Patrick Tyndall


With his speech, “The Ground On Which I Stand,” delivered to the Theatre Communications Group’s Eleventh National Conference in Princeton, New Jersey, in June 1996, August Wilson galvanized a national debate on race and culture. In this speech, he all but demanded fully funded African American theaters for African American actors, directors, and other theater practitioners. Wilson pointed out that of the sixty-six theaters that are members of the League of Resident Theatres, only one could be considered African American—the Crossroads Theater in New Brunswick, New Jersey (Wilson, “The Ground On Which I Stand” 16; Gussow, “Energizing the Future of Black Theater” E3; Gussow, “Plea Heeded for Meeting on Black Theater” B1). As of this writing, the Crossroads Theater has closed but intends to reopen. Wilson hoped to bring attention to this sad state of theater by highlighting the reality of economics and race: “Black theater in America is alive … it is vibrant … it is vital … it just isn’t funded” (“The Ground On Which I Stand” 16). Wilson expected that his speech would activate African American theater practitioners’ rage, motivating them to change the sorry condition of African American theater on a national level.


African American Community Ritual Sacrifice Black Folk Historical Identity Black Character 
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Copyright information

© Sandra Shannon and Dana Williams 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Patrick Tyndall

There are no affiliations available

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