Shakespeare Unlimited: Episode 19
"Our own voices with our own tongues"
In one of two podcasts on Shakespeare and the African American experience, "Our Own Voices with Our Own Tongues" revisits the era when Jim Crow segregation was at its height, from a few years after the end of the Civil War to the 1940s and 1950s.
Rebecca Sheir, host of the Shakespeare Unlimited series, talks about black Americans and Shakespeare in that time with two scholars of the period, Marvin MacAllister and Ayanna Thompson.
The discussion ranges from landmark performances—Orson Welles's Depression-era all-black Macbeth and Paul Robeson's Othello— to powerful, though less familiar, stories from the Folger's hometown of Washington, DC. It also draws in later questions about African Americans and Shakespeare, including the role of race in casting choices to this day.
Marvin MacAllister is an associate professor of African American Studies at the University of South Carolina.
Ayanna Thompson is a professor of English at George Washington University and a trustee of the Shakespeare Association of America.
From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © January 28, 2015. Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved.
Produced for the Folger Shakespeare Library by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. Edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington.
We also had help from Dr. James Hatch, co-author with the late Errol Hill of A History of African American Theatre; Connie Winston; Anthony Hill and Douglas Barnett, co-authors of The Historical Dictionary of African American Theater; and Jobie Sprinkle and Tena Simmons at radio station WFAE in Charlotte, North Carolina.