Theater historian

As a theater historian, my research focuses on the history of race and integration on the American stage in the mid-20th Century. I am interested in how, in the decades leading up to the dramatic changes of the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Power Movement (roughly, 1920s-early 1960s), artists used theater and performance to advocate for racial justice and promote interracial collaboration, dialogue, and understanding.

  • Click here to hear me talk about my research and my book The American Negro Theatre and the Long Civil Rights Era on the podcast "New Books in African American Studies."

Book publications

The American Negro Theatre and the Long Civil Rights Era

University of Iowa Press, 2018

The first in-depth study of the historic American Negro Theatre (ANT) and its lasting influence on American popular culture.
Official site (University of Iowa Press)

Experiments in Democracy:
Interracial and Cross-Cultural Exchange in American Theatre, 1912-1945

Southern Illinois University Press, 2016

Scholarly anthology (co-edited with Cheryl Black) that examines how US artists fostered interracial collaboration and socialization on stage, behind the scenes, and among audiences.

Official site (S. Illinois U. Press)

Chapters in these anthologies:

Visions of Tragedy in Modern American Drama

Ed. David Palmer (Bloomsbury, 2018)

Cambridge Companion to
African American Theatre

Ed. Harvey Young (Cambridge University Press, 2012)

Authentic Blackness/
"Real" Blackness

Ed. Martin Japtok & Rafiki Jenkins (Peter Lang, 2013)

Articles in peer-reviewed journals:

My publications include articles in these journals: Theatre History Studies, Journal of American Drama and Theatre, Theatre Topics, African American Review, and others.