This is the first book-length study of black American women playwrights. It will be useful to scholars in the fields of black and women's literature and an excellent source of background reading in graduate and undergraduate courses on American women playwrights. The author's training as both a scholar and a playwright is evident in this book. "Choice"
This important contribution to African American and women's studies analyzes the dramatic works of America's black women playwrights. The plays of such writers as Alice Childress, Lorraine Hansberry, and Ntozake Shange are examined in light of the tradition from which they emerged. Brown-Guillory begins by tracing the development of African American theater with its roots in African theatrics, then moves on to discuss women playwrights of the Harlem Renaissance such as Angelina Weld Grimke, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Georgia Douglas Johnson, May Miller, Mary Burrill, Myrtle Smith Livingston, Ruth Gaines-Shelton, Eulalie Spence, and Marita Bonner. Though rarely anthologized and infrequently made the subject of critical interpretation, asserts the author, the plays of these early twentieth-century black women offer much to the American theater in the way of content, tonal and structural form, characterization, as well as dialogue, and were instrumental in paving a way for black playwrights from the 1950s to the present.