By: Angelina Weld Grimke (author)Paperback

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'Today, we colored men and women, everywhere - are up against it...In the South, they make it as impossible as they can for us to get educated. In the North, they make a pretence of liberality; they give us the ballot and a good education, and then snuff us out. Each year, the problem just to live, gets more difficult to solve.' Rachel is a young, educated, middle-class woman. But she is born into an African-American family in the early 20th century - a world in which ignorance and violence prevail. While her family and neighbours find different ways to survive, Rachel's dreams of getting married and becoming a mother collide with the tragic events of her family's past as she confronts the harsh reality of a racist world. 'Our hands are clean; theirs are red with blood. We are destined to failure - they, to success. Their children shall grow up in hope; ours, in despair.' Written exactly midway between the American Civil War and the end of slavery, and the explosion of Civil Rights in the 1960s, this hauntingly beautiful and profoundly shocking play still asks urgent questions for today. Rachel was first produced by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1916 in Washington, D.C., and subsequently at the Neighborhood Theater, New York City, and in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with an all-black cast. Leading African-American historian Alain Leroy Locke said of Rachel that it was 'the first successful drama written by a Negro and interpreted by Negro actors.'

About Author

Angelina Weld Grimke (1880-1958) was a poet, dramatist, journalist, teacher, essayist, radical feminist and lesbian icon. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, into a distinguished mixed-race family, which had included slaveholders and slaves, free black people, white abolitionists, and advocates for women's rights and women's suffrage. Her mother, Sarah E. Stanley, was white and worked as a scholar and a homemaker. Grimke's father, Archibald Henry Grimke, was a highly regarded attorney, diplomat, and scholar. He was only the second African-American to graduate from Harvard Law School. Grimke excelled academically - she published her first poem at age 13. Her earliest poems, published in Boston and in Washington, DC, focused on the realm of racial politics. Some critics feared that her words on prejudice were enough to cause violence in the streets and incite Blacks to rise up in the face of oppression. Despite this, Grimke remained personally introverted and dedicated to the quiet life of a teacher. During her summers, she took courses at Harvard, and in 1907, she became an English teacher at Washington's M Street High School. When she suffered back injuries in a 1911 train crash, Grimke became more isolated. Always sheltered, her new physical handicap led her to spend increasing amounts of time at her writing desk. Soon after the accident, she began work on a three act play called Rachel. The Drama Committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) first produced Rachel in March 1916 in Washington, D.C. after a call for new works to rally public opinion against D. W. Griffith's recently released film, The Birth of a Nation (1915), which glorified the Ku Klux Klan and portrayed a racist view of blacks and of their role in the American Civil War and Reconstruction in the South. The play - one of the first to be performed by an all-black cast - was subsequently performed at the Neighborhood Playhouse, New York City, and in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Rachel earned Grimke considerable acclaim, and was published in 1920. She is widely regarded as a leading forerunner of the Harlem Renaissance, the cultural, social, and artistic explosion that took place in Harlem between the end of the First World War and the middle of the 1930s. Grimke's talents were much admired by the poets and writers of the Harlem Renaissance including Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen, who convinced Grimke to be published in a 1927 anthology entitled Caroling Dusk. After this, she spent the remainder of her life in quiet isolation. Grimke died on June 10 1958. Long after her death, Grimke's works returned to popularity. Despite her timid persona, she is now remembered as a lyrical and fearless chronicler of the personal and political dilemmas of her era.

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9781783191871
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 64
  • ID: 9781783191871
  • ISBN10: 1783191872

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