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Deferred Dreams, Defiant StrugglesCritical Perspectives on Blackness, Belonging, and Civil Rights$
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Violet Showers Johnson, Gundolf Graml, and Patricia Williams Lessane

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781786940339

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786940339.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 05 June 2020

The Plays of Carlton and Barbara Molette: The Transformative Power of African-American Theater

The Plays of Carlton and Barbara Molette: The Transformative Power of African-American Theater

(p.94) 6 The Plays of Carlton and Barbara Molette: The Transformative Power of African-American Theater1
Deferred Dreams, Defiant Struggles

Silvia Pilar Castro-Borrego

Liverpool University Press

Chapter offers a critical analysis of Barbara and Carlton Molette’s body of theatrical work. It focuses in particular on the racial and class politics present within the plays Rosalee Pritchett (1970), Noah’s Ark (1974), Legacy (2012) and the ten-minute play Tee-Shirt History (2011). The author argues that to understand the Molettes’ plays, one must appreciate the extent to which the type of theatre that they conceive is nourished by the broader cultural perspective of Afrocentricity and its values. Indeed, the chapter proposes that the Molettes’ insightful and powerful dialogue encourages us to question a belief system based in the ideology of White supremacy and its attendant stereotypes. Furthermore, as representatives and inheritors of the Black intellectual tradition and the Black Arts Movement, their plays offer harsh criticisms of the ideas and behaviours of those who deny the existence of a solid African American culture, and instead propose ways to celebrate Black heritage. In this way, the author suggests that the Molettes’ collective body of work is a clarion call for self-definition and Black agency.

Keywords:   Carlton Molette, Barbara Molette, African-American theatre, Black diaspora, Afrocentricity, Black Theater Movement, Theater of Experience, Protest drama, Institutional racism, White privilege

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